I absolutely love the many ways that Breaking Bad embraced science. I love it so much, in fact, that I wrote a book about it–“The Science of Breaking Bad” from MIT Press–along with my co-author and Breaking Bad science advisor, Dr. Donna Nelson. It’s crazy to think that a science-explainer article that I originally wrote way back in 2013 during the show’s fifth and final season is now a published tome that includes insider insight, in-depth research and explanations, and lots of fun trivia about how Breaking Bad pulled off all those stunning yet scientifically accurate sequences with the help of Hollywood’s special effects.
What’s not surprising is that Breaking Bad continues to be a popular show even today, thanks in part to its prequel series Better Call Saul and plans for a sequel movie that’s yet to come. But there’s more to the fandom of Breaking Bad than just the love of additional content. The award-winning show’s earnest displays of everything from meth-making chemistry and explosives to the struggles against diseases like cancer and cerebral palsy not only made it standout from the pack, it also inspired TV-viewers everywhere to ask questions and explore the real-world science behind the fictional story of Walter White’s transformation into Heisenberg.
And that’s why “The Science of Breaking Bad” exists, to give fans answers to the questions they’ve been wondering about for years while also answering questions they might not have even thought to ask. You’d be hard-pressed to find something science-y on Breaking Bad that isn’t covered in this book (and if you do, we’ll happily field those questions on social media). But with that in mind, I wanted to offer up some samples from the book. What follows are science explainers for some of the most explosive moments from Breaking Bad; we’ll keep the scientific jargon to a minimum here but more detailed explanations make up the bulk of the book itself. Check out a sampling below!