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The Chemistry of Breaking Bad
David Smith

  • Thursday 16 June 2016, 7.00PM to 8:15pm
  • Free admission
    Booking required
  • Merchant Adventurers' Hall, Fossgate (map)
  • Wheelchair accessible

Event details

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Walter White (a.k.a. Heisenberg), the anti-hero of the TV show Breaking Bad, is a man for whom time is very much running out.  Diagnosed with terminal cancer, the chemistry teacher turns to manufacturing illegal drugs to try and provide his family with a financial future. As time ticks away for him, he becomes ever more desperate.

Join David Smith from the University of York to explore some of the fundamental chemistry underpinning the show and to find out just how realistic it is. David discusses whether you could really use hydrofluoric acid to dispose of dead bodies in a bathtub and a new theory as to why Heisenberg's crystal meth might be blue. Warning: David’s talk may include minor plot spoilers!

About the speaker

David Smith is a Professor of Chemistry at the University of York, where he specialises in nanotechnology. He uses innovative approaches to encourage people to engage with science. His YouTube channel explains the chemistry behind various subjects, from painkillers and curries, to the television shows Breaking Bad and Wonders of Life. His aim is to minimise the perceived distance between scientists and everyday audiences and to help combat chemophobia – the view that chemicals, and chemistry, are bad things. Watch his videos at


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