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OU professor served as science consultant for “Breaking Bad”

Filed by KOSU News in Local News, Science.
September 27, 2013

Breaking Bad is ending its five season run Sunday night, and one Oklahoma professor will be watching closely. That’s because OU chemistry professor Donna Nelson was a consultant for the show. She’s answered questions about the science in the show centered on Walter White, a high school teacher slash meth dealer. Nelson said she contacted the show after producer Vince Gilligan mentioned he wanted to get the science right in a trade journal.

Since then, some of the work has been detailed, like the yield for cooking meth with a certain ingredient.

“I calculated that and got the information back to them. That one we had to go back and forth a little bit to clarify some stuff and I had to look a little bit of stuff up.”

Producers also asked Nelson about what might motivate a science teacher to cook meth, and helped fill in character details.

“They asked me things like what makes a person go into science, what would make a person with a PhD in chemistry want to be a high school teacher instead of a professor like you?”

She says the work has made her a bit of a fan of the show, minus the gory episodes.

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