hands after working by wolfgangfoto

Handedness and the one who knocks

Long before he becomes the “one who knocks,” Walter White gives a lecture on chirality, or “handedness” (S1E2). The concept of chirality is not only central to understanding how methamphetamine works, but like other aspects of chemistry mentioned in the show, it connects with the duality of Walt and his flipside personality, Heisenberg.

HomeGrown Sugar Crystals by Dan Tentler

Heisenberg: a crystallographer who makes crystal meth

Crystals play a big role in Breaking Bad. In fact, not only does Heisenberg synthesise crystal meth, but Walt originally made his name as a scientist in the field of crystallography: the study of crystals.

Structure by Patrick M

Structures in Breaking Bad

Structure is all around us. Life has structure. Chemicals have structure. Crystals have structure. Narratives have structure. As it turns out, Breaking Bad is concerned with each of these kinds of structure.

rock candy by Hernan Seoane

Why is Heisenberg’s meth blue?

Walt and Jesse are naturally rather anxious when they first present their blue coloured meth to Tuco Salamanca at the end of Breaking Bad’s first season (revisit the scene here). Walt (Heisenberg) explains that his meth is produced by a different chemical process but it’s “every bit as pure.” After sampling the meth, Tuco is … Continue reading

Heisenberg hybrid

Who is Heisenberg?

It’s a fair bet that any scientists who were watching Breaking Bad for the first time would have let out a collective cheer when they first learnt of Walter White’s criminal pseudonym, Heisenberg.  Not only does this pseudonym denote Walt’s felonious alter ego but it’s also an allusion to the Nobel Prize winning physicist Werner … Continue reading

analog television - treo_080609_003_web by Kevin Dean

Elements of good drama

Let’s face it: Breaking Bad is pretty damn good. Most of us would agree that Breaking Bad has all of the elements of great drama and film making. We can point to strong screen writing, skilled direction, an ensemble of talented actors, and what is often striking cinematography as the key elements that make Breaking … Continue reading

flasks by skycaptaintwo

Chemistry: it is the study of what?

“Chemistry: it is the study of what?” It is with this question that Walter White opens his chemistry class in the first episode of Breaking Bad. In fact, defining what we mean by chemistry and chemicals is a rather good place to start a blog dedicated to the science depicted in Breaking Bad. So then, … Continue reading


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