American Chemical Society video reveals how Breaking Bad keeps its chemistry true to life
WASHINGTON, Sept. 24, 2013 — This Sunday, millions will watch the hotly anticipated conclusion of Breaking Bad, which tells the story of chemistry-teacher-turned-meth-overlord Walter White. The American Chemical Society’s (ACS’) Bytesize Science series celebrates the chemistry behind this acclaimed drama with a new episode featuring Donna Nelson, Ph.D., a scientific consultant for the series. The episode is available now on www.BytesizeScience.com.
“For those of us who are educated in science, whenever we see science presented inaccurately, it’s like fingernails on the blackboard! It just drives us crazy, and we can’t stay immersed in the show,” says Nelson, a professor of organic chemistry at the University of Oklahoma. Nelson became a scientific advisor on the series after reading an interview with the show’s creator Vince Gilligan in ACS’ Chemical & Engineering News. In the interview, Gilligan stated that he was in search of “constructive comments from a chemically inclined audience,” explains Nelson.
In the video, Nelson details how she works with Gilligan and the show’s writers to keep the scientific content accurate. This includes providing the chemical structures Walter White draws on his blackboard and calculating exactly how much methamphetamine could be produced from a 30-gallon drum of methylamine.
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The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 163,000 members, ACS is the world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.