the Mass of Everything


Another one for #ChemMovieCarnival hosted by See Arr Oh (more information about this movie carnival on his blog here), and the two previous round are here

I should thank Petra (material scientist/Tv series addict/muffin magician) for showing me this NCIS episode on liquid nitrogen.

The episode is the 7×05 “Code of Conduct”. One man died for ingesting nitrogen, and that’s ok. I mean scientifically correct.

The fun part (as in most of the Tv series) is the Mass Spec. I’m usually quite blaspheme when I have to run/read/understand the mass… While they can find whatever they want…. Even (liquid) NITROGEN… Yes you read it correctly, they have a peak for Nitrogen….

Screenshot (minute 15.52):


and transcript:
“There’s more. Sample from our dead Marine’s stomach. I expected to find liquid nitrogen, of course, but I did not expect to find acetone and benzene in his flesh.”

So, she even EXPECT the peak of nitrogen… “Benzine” is also quite funny…. And naturally a single peak for the “Turpentine”….

Moreover, I’m quite sure that my Spectrometer doesn’t label the peaks for what they are… Where I can buy one of those?

So, remember NCIS stands for “Non Chemist Ion Spectrometer”


  1. Joseph

    if you want another good one, watch Numb3rs, season 4, episode 16, atomic no. 33

    it’s got a brief sequence on atomic absorption that’s cringe-worthy

    • x15

      ts much better. Shes getting all the information from a mass pectrum (with m/z) took at 15:52 (one point) and not from a chromatogram with sample components (peaks) separated.