The science of Breaking Bad: One Minute

Breaking Bad : Season 3 : Episode 7 : “One Minute”

Walt and Gale in the Chemistrycave.

Walt and Gale in the Chemistrycave.

Tensions reach a climax in this episode, and then leave us almost back to square one: Walt and Jesse working together relatively unmolested, and no hitmen wandering around with axes. Events have conspired to make other characters and situations more important, so this episode contains little of note. Check back soon!

You can read more about this episode at AMC, IMDb and the A.V. Club.

Random thoughts

Gale isn’t wearing sandals this week – he’s right in saying that it’s more professional, but it’s also common sense when you’re using machinery and pouring dangerous chemicals.

Walt asks about solvent filtering – this is a little unusual, as filtering is normally used to remove solid particles whereas solvent is normally contaminated with liquids (i.e. other solvents). Our cook team may be re-using solvent that had had aluminium pieces in it, or perhaps some solid drying agent such as magnesium sulfate.

When Walt looks at the temperature gauge, we can see that Gus has provided him with the SCR-5990 Meth Module™. SCR stands for selective catalytic reduction, normally used to reduce NOx emissions from exhaust gases but here (presumably) used to perform the reductive amination.

Walt’s perhaps-planned rant at Gale has a solid foundation – temperature control is often critical in synthesis, and a difference of ten degrees could very well ruin a delicate reaction. In particular, the temperature will affect reaction equilibria and reaction rates, which in turn affect the reaction products.

Elements in the credits

Breaking Bromine
Bad Barium
Created Chromium
Bryan Cranston Bromine
AnNa Gunn Sodium
AAron Paul Argon
DeaN Norris Nitrogen
Betsy Brandt Beryllium
RJ MitTe Tellurium
BOb Odenkirk Oxygen
Mark MargoLis Lithium
David Costabile Cobalt
Michael ShAmus Wiles Americium
Nate Mooney Sodium
Luis Moncada Lutetium
Daniel Moncada Molybdenum
Skip MAcdonald Actinium
Mark FreeboRn Radon
MiChael Slovis Carbon
Dave Porter Polonium
Sharon Bialy Sulfur
SherrY Thomas Yttrium
Diane MerCer Cerium
Moira Walley-Beckett Molybdenum
Thomas SchnAuz Gold
George Mastras Germanium
PeTer Gould Tellurium
Sam Catlin Calcium
John ShiBan Barium
Melissa Bernstein Beryllium
MicHelle MacLaren Helium
Mark JOhnson Oxygen
StewArt A. Lyons Argon
Thomas Schnauz Scandium
Michelle MacLaRen Rhenium
Vince Gilligan Vanadium

One Response to The science of Breaking Bad: One Minute

  1. It is a pity that you did not comment on the physics of hollow point bullets, and how they may have affected the shooting match at the end! The exit wound in the head should be even larger I think.

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