Have you been wondering about the chemistry behind AMC's dramatic television series, Breaking Bad? Here's a look at the science of the show.
In the pilot episode of Breaking Bad
Walt White performs a chemistry demonstration in which he sprays chemicals onto a burner flame, causing it to change colors. Here's how you can do that demonstration yourself.
The premise of the series is that chemist and chemistry teacher Walt White is diagnosed with cancer and seeks to make enough money to support his family after his death so he turns to making crystal meth. Just how hard is it to make this drug
? No that hard, but there are lots of reasons why you wouldn't want to mess with it.
Tobias Maximilian Mittrach, Wikipedia Commons
Mercury fulminate sort of looks like crystal meth, but it is an explosive. Mercury fulminate is easy to prepare, but you won't find many chemists excited about mixing up a batch.
European Chemicals Bureau
Walt uses hydrofluoric acid to dissolve a body. This works, but if you are going to use hydrofluoric acid
(presumably not for that purpose), there are certain things you need to know.
U.S. Geological Survey
The third episode of Breaking Bad
finds Walt pondering what makes a man. Is it the elements of which he is comprised? No, it's the choices he makes. Walt thinks back on his past and reviews a bit of biochemistry.
Siede Preis, Getty Images
If you are going to use glassware for chemistry, it's probably a good idea to learn how to get it clean. Dirty glassware can lead to contamination. You wouldn't want that, would you?
The first episode of Season 2 finds Walt making up a batch of ricin. Ricin is bad news, but you don't need to fear castor beans or accidental poisoning.
Jonathan Kantor, Getty Images
Walter White's trademark meth is blue rather than clear or white. The blue crystal meth used in Breaking Bad really is blue rock candy or sugar crystals. You can make blue crystals yourself, for snacking while watching the show.