For those who say science is cold and devoid of beauty, I present the Galileo Thermometer.
I received this as a gift and I am smitten. I check it whenever I'm home, and want to play with the air conditioner just to see it change. It moves from room to room so that I may see the bubbles move.
Different coloured oils are encased in glass bubbles, a small brass tag hanging from each. The brass tags are subtly different weights from each other. All are suspended in water and as the water changes temperature, it also changes density. When the density changes, some of the glass bubbles will float and others will not. The lowest bubble in the top cluster indicates the current temperature, which is engraved on the brass tag. Yeah, it's another muggy summer here on Toronto. For a full explanation, check out Howstuffworks.com. I have seen Galileo thermometers available at Winners or at this nifty site, the Thermometer Shop. The alternate name is "thermoscope", which sounds nicely paleo-futuristic.
The other fascinating thing about a Galileo thermometer, is that it's shiny. I like shiny things. Shiny.