The science of Breaking Bad

June 9, 2009

With a few shows that I watch regularly coming to an end (of their current seasons, at least) worryingly soon, I felt no small sense of relief when I was introduced to Breaking Bad – an AMC drama about a terminally ill high school chemistry teacher who turns to illegal drug synthesis as a way to provide for his family after he dies. While the series will undoubtedly explore such dark issues as venturing from the Albuquerque suburbs into the criminal underworld and the psychology of declining health, it also includes frequent references to the wonderful fields of the natural sciences.

Warning: Although I’m not as concerned with plot developments so much as science in these post and links, there will inevitably be some spoilers. If you’re planning on watching the series, consider ignoring this category until after you’ve seen each episode and check out IMDB or the A.V. Club for information and plot-related reviews.

It’s relatively rare that a scientist appears in a leading role on television (or even in film), and from the looks of the first couple of episodes Breaking Bad is set to break a few stereotypes (though perhaps not some public misconceptions). Over the next few weeks (as I work through season one and catch up to the current season) I’ll be posting my thoughts and explanations on the science introduced in the show, aimed at non-scientists. This will be my first foray into science communication, so as please feel free to send feedback and ask questions.

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