The science of Breaking Bad: To’hajiilee

September 11, 2013

Breaking Bad | Season 5 | Episode 13 | “To’hajiilee”

Don't drink and drive. But if you do, better call Saul!

Don’t drink and drive. But if you do, better call Saul!

Bluffing, confrontations and desperation in tonight’s episode, with the only really certain thing being that there are several episodes left with which Breaking Bad can continue to surprise us.

This episode is reviewed at Emilia Jordan and the A.V. Club, and you can read more about it at AMC and IMDb.

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The science of Breaking Bad: 4 Days Out

October 26, 2009

Breaking Bad : Season 2 : Episode 9: “4 Days Out”

Walt prepares his biggest batch yet.

Walt prepares his biggest batch yet.

Walt’s latest prognosis does not look good, and he decides to accelerate his plans to provide for his family by cooking as much as he can in as short a time as possible. In this post, I’ll be talking about batteries.

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

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The science of Breaking Bad: A No-Rough-Stuff-Type Deal

July 27, 2009

Breaking Bad : Season 1 : Episode 7: “A No-Rough-Stuff-Type Deal”

Walt and Jesse prepare to make their deal.

Walt and Jesse prepare to make their deal.

After last week’s explosive encounter with Tuco, Walt and Jesse cement their position as Albuquerque’s top suppliers of premium-grade meth. In this post, I’ll be talking about the new cooking process (reductive amination) and producing thermite from an Etch-A-Sketch.

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

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The science of Breaking Bad: Cat’s in the Bag

June 23, 2009

Breaking Bad : Season 1 : Episode 2 : “Cat’s in the Bag”

Jesse attempts chemical disincorporation.

Jesse attempts chemical disincorporation.

Scrambling to deal with the fallout from their encounter with the local drug dealers, Walt and Jesse again turn to chemistry. In this post, I’ll be talking about chirality and how to dispose of a body with hydrofluoric acid.

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

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The science of Breaking Bad: Pilot

June 15, 2009

Breaking Bad : Season 1 : Episode 1 : “Pilot”

Walt performs the coloured flame experiment.

Walt performs the coloured flame experiment.

The first episode of Breaking Bad kicks things off in a promising way for scientist viewers, with references scattered liberally throughout. In this post, I’ll be talking about Walt’s contribution to the Nobel Prize, electrons and light, the coloured flame experiment, glassware and the manufacture of crystal meth.

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

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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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