Science on Breaking Bad is given the red carpet treatment: it’s sleek, sexy, geek-chic, tongue-in-cheek and everywhere. Many more achievements are sure to come for their outstanding sophomore effort! But we can just assume that Walt used his past career as a “Crystallographer Extraordinaire” to produce the largest mercury fulminate crystals to date ;-). So, if for a certain particle we can specify momentum with absolute certainty, then its position can be found anywhere along those axes with an equal probability. I'll let Jesse explain. The residual yeast in each bottle metabolize the sugar and churn out more waste products, among them ethanol, various flavor compounds, and, of course, carbon dioxide. This is the moment in the show that delineated a before and an after, where the line was drawn in the sand, and we never again saw the innocent sick chemistry teacher desperate to save his family. For the electrolyte, he soaks a sponge in potassium hydroxide (KOH). … “A little tweak of chemistry.” Most notable about this scene is that it caps the season-long transformation of Walt’s character. If we’re going to get super-technical, we could invoke a physics property called Ohm’s Law which states that the ultimate current (which we measure in amperes) potential is inversely proportional to its resistance. Good thing Walt and Jesse had those respirators, otherwise they'd have been in bad shape. Relatively easy to make synthetically, fulminated mercury is a powerful explosive and was long used as a detonation primer for dynamite. Even if "Felina" wasn't as hard-hitting on the science front as the rest of the award-winning show was, it remains one of the greatest final hours for one of the best shows ever on TV. Even easier, he could switch his SIM card with the out-of-range, but still working Jesses’s mobile. I’ll have to rewatch it to see if the error was on our end. And a fuel cell is an electrochemical device, or a galvanic cell (named after its inventor, Luigi Galvani), which converts free energy of a chemical reaction into electrical energy, or electricity. Personally, I really would have chosen a very concentrated hydrochloric acid or sulfuric acid solution like John George “The Acid Murderer” Haigh, or better yet, liquid lye (the base NaOH), which would be able to react with the organic components of tissue and fat content and wouldn’t have dissolved Jesse’s tub, but where’s the drama in that? So in this case, referring back to the picture of the galvanic cell, the flow of positive charge will come in the form of K+ ions, and the negative charge from the OH– ions. There is a fly loose in the lab. Used water and shaved match striker strips to make deadly phosphine gas The Collider Podcast, Ep. I like your srticle and I would like very much to read some more information on this issue. Now that we’ve got the basics of the design down, here’s Walt’s piecemeal design: for the anode, he gathered galvanized metal composed mostly of zinc in the form of coins, nuts, bolts and washers; the cathode was made from the Winnebago’s brake pads which were composed of mercuric oxide and graphite; the electrolyte was a sponge soaked in potassium hydroxide, with the above-seen copper wire as a conductor. Breaking Bad - the story of a teacher who makes crystal meth - is in its final episodes. Mr. White’s sobriquet choice? Since the ability of the compound's ions to dissociate is related to the strength of the acid, HF is considered to be relatively weak. So while Walt was able to build a battery with the proper voltage, the internal resistance would likely not generate enough current to provide the immense power necessary to jump-start a car that big. Which brings us to... More things in nature can kill us; what a surprise! It turns out that particles actually act more like waves, whose three-dimensional spatial function can be separated into three axes, or directions, x, y and z, horizontal, vertical and diagonal, respectively. Probably not. So when I heard about a cable show on AMC whose whole premise rested on a chemistry teacher manufacturing meth, I must say, I was slightly skeptical. I mean seriously, folks, we’ve all been there, right? Anode and cathode refer to what the electrode is doing, not their polarity- removing and donating electrons to the inside of the device, respectively. I have never heard of this show – but damn it looks awesome. “The best thing to do,” Walt concludes, “is dissolving [the body] in strong acid.” We’ll talk more about this in a second, but first, check out the minisode for the episode “The Cat’s in the Bag…”. Yeesh, from fun with science to death by ricin. Wiped hard drive inside evidence room using a 252V electromagnet inside car In this case, the acid will primarily disintegrate the body, which as we know is about 80% water, thus creating a solution, but the nonreactive hydrocarbon of the bin would remain chemically inert. Ask questions and download or stream the entire soundtrack on … While this should be viewed as an additional deterrent for, ya know, not cooking meth, Walt uses his knowledge of the cook to subdue his less-informed co-workers who happen to be holding him at gunpoint. Compare the fulminated mercury seen in Breaking Bad versus a real chemist's result on Mythbusters, and note the dissimilarities in appearance: Another nasty bit of science at work in the criminal underworld of Breaking Bad was put to the test by the Mythbusters. "Box Cutter", the fourth season premiere of Breaking Bad, was directed by Adam Bernstein and written by series creator Vince Gilligan. Because Walt's electromagnetic was probably a good 5 meters (~15 feet) away from the laptop in the evidence locker (not to mention the reinforced wall between the two), it would have needed quite a bit more power than even those dozens of car batteries could have supplied. Iron exits in hemoglobin, the oxygen-transporting molecule in red blood cells; lithium is a reducing agent in some processes of methamphetamine production, which has led some amateur cooks to grab it in abundance from batteries; sodium is a component in tears as the salt, sodium chloride; sodium is also a component in sweat, but Blood, Meth and Sweat doesn't sound quite so poetic. Cheers and thanks for the support! Any plans of infiltrating the building will likely get them nabbed in the process, so they dynamic duo decide to attack from without. 1. Sometimes, desperate situations call for desperate (and clever!) What’s a wronged high school chemistry teacher to do? Take home lesson? A “BREAKING Bad” drug lab for cooking Crystal Meth has been uncovered on Hampstead Heath. Walt mentions that he only has material enough for six cells. Find all 367 songs featured in Breaking Bad Soundtrack, listed by episode with scene descriptions. A battery is a self-contained power supply that both generates and stores electrical energy via chemical reactions. While on his humiliating moonlighting shift as a car wash attendant, because we pay our public school teachers so well, Walt collapses. Would this have worked in real life? Inside Episode 506 Breaking Bad: Buyout Jesse deals with the repercussions of Todd shooting an innocent witness while Walt discloses his true motivation. To make a nod back to our homebrewing discussion, the addition of heat to the wort is highly controlled in order to make sure certain proteins survive long enough to do their job while others are denatured (ie unraveled) and inactivated. As Walt is cooking in the RV lab, he takes advantage of the dangerous nature of the process to fill the enclosed space with a deadly gas. Walt uses copper wire, which he then connects to the jumper cables by collecting all six cells and pooling the electric current to restart the van’s battery. Unfortunately, hard drives need quite a strong magnetic field to force erasure of data (and if you've got a non-magnetic solid-state drive, you're out of luck), and laptops have a significant amount of shielding around their hard drives, so magnets aren't foolproof, as evidenced by this image from K&J Magnetics showing two Neodymium magnets failing to scramble a running hard drive. Walt tells Jesse to look at the bottom of the bins for a symbol called “LDPE”. He is the father of the “Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle” in quantum mechanics, which states that measured values for a particle’s position and momentum cannot be ascertained simultaneously with equal precision. Remember, we also need a conductor to carry the current of electrons—the charge—from one half-cell to the other. Terminal. Mercury fulminate is relatively stable, perhaps Admin had it confused with silver fulminate, which is much more shock and scratch sensitive. Information is useful! Easily on par with David Simon’s brilliant The Wire on HBO, in the world of Breaking Bad no one is absolved from the intertwining effects of drugs—the rising body count, both from use and dealing, the strain on law enforcement, and families torn apart. I’m a chemist. chemical measures. Here is Fritz's Polka Band. Perhaps that was a bit much for the censors…)  Even though Walt made six of these fuel cells and attacked them to the Winnebago’s battery with jumper cables, would it have been enough to spark it up? Well, here we go. A “Break”out hit in its second season, the show has managed to layer complex serialized storytelling with compelling characters and stories, and even better science. Pure methylamine has a density of 700.00 kg/m³, but a 40% w/w solution in water works out to about 890 kg/m³. Density is defined as the mass of a substance per unit volume, in other words, how much of something you can cram into a certain space. A crystal that size could never have survived past Walter White placing it in the bag in his lab, let alone driving with it in his car. Things that change protein structure include, and are not limited to, pH extremes, strong agitation, radiation and, most importantly, heat. I forgot about Jesse’s phone. . This chemistry lesson proves to be a dynamite primer of its own later in the episode. Does it copyright protected? About the fuel cells (point 4). The Premise The first good large batch of meth—1 pound!—that he and Jesse were able to synthesize was stolen without compensation by Albuquerque’s toughest drug wholesaler. A copper or barium solution produced the green color, while the red was likely due to strontium. He at first tried to help out a fellow meth-maker at the store, but then seeing him talking to his partner in the parking lot, walks right up to him and says: “Stay out of my territory”. Well, it's an alternate precursor chemical for their cook (one that makes it easier to obtain a higher purity of product), and boosting a large amount from a train was apparently less conspicuous than smurfing dozens of pseudoephedrine-containing products from drug stores. I really like your post. The stronger the acid, the more readily it gives up this proton, and the higher the concentration of H3O+ protonated water ions floating in solution, called the dissociated state. These ions absorb the thermal energy from the flame, causing their electrons to jump up a notch to an excited state, ever so briefly. It's not all explosions and death and MacGyver saves from life-threatening situations. With Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul, Dean Norris. Rather, the following is meant only to compare the Breaking Bad version of science to real world fundamentals. While Lydia could have been cured if she’d gone straight to the hospital, it’s more likely that the toxin wouldn’t have taken effect in the first place ... but why not? If the pilot episode doesn’t get your attention in the first five minutes, then I don’t know what will. Fun fact: Walt and Jesse could have simply cooked up methylamine by more or less bubbling ammonia through methanol, but that's not nearly as much fun as a train heist. But how many shows on the air are even attempting this kind of clever science? Not only does Walt's scientific background aid him in his drug-making ventures, it also gets him out of scrapes. Please feel free to check out the rest of the blog. The pig went bye-bye relatively quickly (not to mention a noxious plume of smoke), but the bathtub and floorboard beneath it remained intact. You’ve just killed the drug dealer who was supposed to peddle your batch of crystal meth, but you have to make the body disappear quietly without your DEA brother-in-law finding out. By proton we mean a positively-charged hydrogen (H+) with water acting as the accepting base in most cases. We’ll also have to assume Walt was very careful in handling an entire plastic bag of it. Go inside the making of the train heist in Episode 505 and see how the most ambitious scene in Breaking Bad history came to life. Written by Peter Gould and directed by Bryan Cranston , it aired on AMC in the United States and Canada on August 11, 2013 as the mid-season premiere. There's no doubt that electromagnets and rare earth magnets possess fantastic strength, but they also require a target with adequate mass and are more effective over small distances. Feed your addiction for more 'Breaking Bad. I didn't know this, but the Breaking Bad blog says the lab was originally for Gale alone to provide meth for Gus, possibly also for the Croatians, where the quality was expected to be low (Lydia's explanation to Walt about Gus' plans for Europe). The repeating units of CH2, some linked by side branches, make for a strong, compact bond and very low reactivity. The show was about as perfect as you could get, pseudo-science aside, so I'll happily suspend my disbelief and enjoy the transformation of Walter White from meek to mad scientist. In "Breaking Bad", Walter White cooks methamphetamine in a secret lab, under the name "Heisenberg". Walt visits Hector at the retirement home … While the ethanol quickly burns off, metal ions are left behind. Fun! Back up for a moment. See how you can perform a more advanced presentation of the same concept here. More importantly, it reacts strongly with calcium and magnesium, so it would be able to efficiently dissolve Emilio’s bones for disposal. Perfect in theory. When it was revealed that Brock had been poisoned by eating berries from the Lily of the Valley plant, everyone involved thought Walt was in the clear ... until a closing shot showed Walt sitting comfortably poolside near a potted plant of Lily of the Valley. Pay particular attention to the disastrous results of this suggestion in the last 1:30, especially if you have a strong stomach. Two days later, the result is a dead battery and no one around for miles to help. Back in the old days before the superlab or the brilliant mobile meth-cooking scheme of Vamonos Pest, Walt and Jesse took the Winnebago out to the middle of the New Mexico desert and cooked up batches as needed. At the cathode, free electrons that have traveled through the conducting circuit are used to reduce the electrode species to generate a positive charge. Secondly, this stuff is unstable and extremely reactive. Still more want to pull the word apart by its elements: Fe - Li - Na. Lydia’s penchant for Stevia and soy milk in her Chamomile tea was well established, having been seen in a number of episodes leading up to the finale. 2) It’s enough to just melt you! D’oh! I mentioned above that ricin, when inhaled, needs only 1/228th of an aspirin tablet to prove deadly, while about 4 aspirin tablets worth would need to be orally ingested to achieve the same effect. In an astute opening TRULY ripped from the headlines, a Season 2 Breaking Bad episode starts with an original narcocorrido, a Mexican drug ballad evolved from its folk music tradition that is often used to chronicle the drug trade and escalating violence over the last two decades. So it sounds like a strong magnet would conceivably reset the data to corrupt it, right? You have anode (positive) and cathode (negative) mixed up in your description above. 5. The potential of the mercuric oxide reduction, used in commercially available mercuric oxide batteries, is 1.35 Volts, and the potential of zinc oxidization is -0.76 Volts. Also, one wouldn’t ever attempt to crystallize mercury fulminate as internal strains in the crystal will make it much more sensitive and impossible to handle. Also, some highly carbonated brews will forgo the simple bottle cap and opt instead for a “cork and cage” stopper to maintain integrity.). Mostly we’ll be looking to interview talent and writers and make people aware of what the very best of tv and film is. The battery that Walt built would probably generate 20-30 Amps of current, based on current for a typical basic Galvanic cell, and that’s being generous. A short while later, the body had been reduced to soup and the acid had also eaten through the tub and the floor beneath it, causing quite the cleanup for Jesse. Probably not. He already showed some restraint (or just pure maniacal machination) in not using ricin to poison Brock, even though he managed to harm the little guy in another manner. What kind of metal makes the best wire? On its own, white phosphorus can self-ignite and burn down your makeshift DEA-approved commercial meth lab. So acidically speaking, HF < HCl (stomach acid) < HBr < HI. We do what we do for the love, not the money ;-). For the anode (or source of negative charge) he uses a galvanized metal, specifically zinc, which they get by collecting coins and spare metallic parts (nuts, bolts, washers, etc). In "Dead Freight", the fifth episode of season five of Breaking Bad, Walt explains why the physical property of density will actually assist them in their planned heist of 1,000 gallons of methylamine from a train transport. At the anode, an oxidization reaction strips electrons from the electrode (usually a metal of some sort), resulting in overall negative charge. Wow, looks great! Generate electricity, generate charge, find a way to collect said charge, you’ve got power. He decides to infuse some excitement into his life on a bust ride with his brother-in-law, a DEA agent. So, from A to F in one fell swoop! His students didn't care, but if you're still reading, I'll wager you're interested. Knowledge is power! The Science Annnnnnd ::drumroll:: the best Walter White chemistry moment to date? When he sprays a series of flammable solutions across them, the flame flares green and then red. Since that state is unstable, the electrons return to their more tenable ground state, but where does that thermal energy go? The theory went further, linking each element to Blood, Meth and Tears. He later joined a prominent group of scientists who opposed the use of tactical nuclear weapons as warfare. It’s such an appropriate name for him on so many levels. Stay tuned! We already talked about the source of ricin earlier in this post, but since it was written before the finale, now we get to discuss whether or not it would have worked in the way Walt used it. The go-to source for comic book and superhero movie fans. 4. Appearance in El Camino. The trick is in the mix, as Walt has likely dissolved metal ions/salts into an ethanol solution. ‘Gliding Over All’ – Season 5A, Episode. This question has been on the mind of viewers since the series ended in 2013 and, now, we break down both sides of the argument. "Run" The final scene of the episode, "Half Measures" may have taken the top spot were it not for the … the phosphorus in the water or whatever in the first season supposedly making phosgene is false too. For the cathode (the positive charge where the current will flow out), Walt uses graphite and mercuric oxide that he ground down from the Winnebago’s brake pads. But because it is a weak acid and exists primarily in its undissociated state, it is able to penetrate deeply into the skin before deprtotonating, thus making it an excellent and efficient corrosive for human flesh (and very dangerous!). As in don’t touch it, don’t expose it to light, don’t mess with it unstable. (We’ll skip discussion of covalent bond orbitals for next time!) (Random thought: since Jesse introduced the story of a man lost in the wild who survived by drinking his own urine, I fully expected Walt to suggest using urine as the electrolyte since it’s chock full of aqueous salts and there’s a ready supply available. Walt serves Tuco a ricin burrito. All 4 songs featured in Breaking Bad season 3 episode 5: Mas, with scene descriptions. The anode is not positive in a discharging battery, only in a recharging one. That would be unfortunate, indeed!) Only instead of discouraging Walt, the bust shows him how much money can be made. Yep! Breaking Bad is an American neo-Western crime drama television series created and produced by Vince Gilligan.The show aired on AMC from January 20, 2008, to September 29, 2013, consisting of five seasons for a total of 62 episodes. For a look ahead at Season 3, check out this sneak peek preview: All video clips and pictures are © 2007-2009 AMC Television and Sony Pictures Television. That's not to say it isn't dangerous. Please contact our attorney, Saul Goodman, with any legal concerns.*. That pressure finds the path of least resistance (ie the bottle cap) to escape, which sounded remarkably like gunshots in the Breaking Bad episode, “Breakage”. The season finale of Breaking Bad aired May 31, 2009 on AMC, but for those of you not yet watching this spectacular series, there is plenty of time to catch up. It's particularly dangerous to young children and pets. 2. Created by Vince Gilligan. Walt's best use of ricin (so far) has been making Jesse expose his own mistrust for Walt when the ricin went missing and Brock coincidentally turned up sick. So magnetic erasure is likely out of the question, but what about wanton destruction? Images (99) The Superlab was a large-scale laboratory facility that was located under an industrial laundry business in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Homebrewing relatively small batches of the potent potables is nowhere near as dangerous as cooking up illicit drugs with deadly chemicals, but that’s not to say it’s without its own dangers. A high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer turns to manufacturing and selling methamphetamine in order to secure his family's future. These compounds can be used therapeutically in the treatment of cardiac failure, as they increase the force of the heart's contraction by indirectly regulating cellular calcium concentrations. Most cars use a standard 12 Volt battery, but for cold-cracking need about 400-600 Amps, higher if you are going to start something like the Winnebago. The cooking of meth involves a chemical reduction of pseudoephedrine or ephedrine (a stimulant and decongestant in cold medications that used to be readily available in drug stores) via red phosphorus and hydriodic acid (another nasty acid for the reasons described above). Where other crime lords in the making might simply fight or shoot their way out of trouble, Walt uses not just his understanding of chemistry, but also physics, toxicology, and biochemistry to dispose of bodies, erase damning evidence, and to make sure that leverage is always on his side. I’d have to rewatch to see if he did indeed reverse the order of the electron flow. Thanks! The darkly comedic highlights of the show are Walt and Jesse’s interactions in their “laboratory”, a beaten-down Winnebago camper. The Superlab was financed by Gustavo Fring with the construction costing approximately $8 million and constructed for the purpose of manufacturing industrial amounts of illicit methamphetamine, and thus played a vital role in the … Unfortunately, it also reacts with silicon dioxide, the major component of glass and ceramics. The place is built like a bunker, so bombs are out of the question. While they can take 1,000 gallons of a 40% w/w (weight-to-weight, not Walter White) solution of methylamine in water, they need only replace that amount with a lesser amount of plain ol' water, mass for mass, not volume for volume. So if we add this up, we get enough voltage, give or take, to build a typical 12 Volt battery. The good people-- almost everyone else-- … It’s important to note Heisenberg is also a very controversial historical figure. In the Breaking Bad pilot, Walt is forced to reveal his recipe so a couple of thugs won't kill him and leave him in the desert. 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