The science of Breaking Bad: Bug

Breaking Bad | Season 4 | Episode 9 | “Bug”

Walt and Hank on a highly ill-advised stakeout.

Walt and Hank on a highly ill-advised stakeout.

Walt’s paranoia finally leads to an irreconcilable blow-up with Jesse, while peripheral events start to close in on both him and Gus’s operations. It’s becoming increasingly uncertain who’s actually going to survive until the end of the season.

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

Random thoughts

A geode is a type of rock formation where crystals grow inside a cavity, naturally producing an aesthetically pleasing display.

It’s hard to tell by just looking, but Mike is almost certainly using an ultraviolet lamp to check for illicit substances (methamphetamine and possibly blood) in the warehouses. Many chemicals exhibit <a href="https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Fluorescence"fluorescence, meaning in this case that they glow by absorbing (invisible) ultraviolet light and emitting visible light. Unfortunately, Mike is flouting several safety rules by using the lamp without a shield – he is directly exposed to the radiation and will be in for some nasty sunburn and possibly skin cancer.

For background information on this topic, see the primer on energy levels.

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
Giancarlo Esposito Einsteinium
JonAthan Banks Astatine
ChristopHer Cousins Helium
Maurice Compte Cobalt
RoB Brownstein Boron
Skip MAcdonald Actinium
Mark FreeboRn Radon
MiChael Slovis Carbon
Dave Porter Polonium
Sharon Bialy Sulfur
Sherry Thomas Thorium
BrYan Cranston Yttrium
Diane MerCer Cerium
Moira Walley-Beckett Molybdenum
Thomas SchnAuz Gold
George Mastras Germanium
PeTer Gould Tellurium
Sam Catlin Calcium
Melissa Bernstein Beryllium
MicHelle MacLaren Helium
Mark JOhnson Oxygen
StewArt A. Lyons Argon
Moira Walley-Beckett Tungsten
THomas Schnauz Homium
TErry McDonough Erbium
Vince Gilligan Vanadium

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