This subject is related to the Black Mesa Incident era.

Black Mesa Science Team

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This subject is related to the Black Mesa Incident era.

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Scientist models.png
Black Mesa Science Team
Political information

Corporate science team


Wallace Breen


Black Mesa Personnel

Societal information

Black Mesa Research Facility


See Black Mesa transportation

Historical information

Black Mesa Incident

Game information
Voiced by
  • monster_scientist
  • monster_scientist_
  • monster_hevsuit_dead
"Why do we all have to wear these ridiculous ties?"
― Black Mesa scientist[src]

The Black Mesa Science Team is the overwhelming majority of Black Mesa's population. With the Black Mesa Security Force, it is one of the most important bodies of the Black Mesa personnel.[3]


Each scientist is granted a different security clearance specific to their duty, with an average clearance of Level 5. Like other employees, scientists have an assigned uniform, consisting of a blue shirt, white lab coat, red striped tie and white (or beige) slacks. In Opposing Force, a cleansuit-wearing variation of the normal scientist appears in limited areas. HEV scientists are trained in the use of the Submachine Gun as part of Hazard Course training, but most of the Science Team have little or no combat skills or experience.

Although cowardly and clumsy at times, scientists can assist the player with certain tasks such as using retinal scanners to open doors, but they also tend to be physically weak, dying within a few shots. Scientists have some first aid skills and will administer a 25-point medicine boost to a wounded player with a health level of 50 or below. Cleansuit scientists do not have this ability.


Research and Development[edit]

The largest portion of the scientists are assigned to research and development positions, where they conduct experiments and create new technologies. The research conducted ranges in focus from particle physics to biological study to space travel. Most R&D scientists have a limited knowledge of first aid, and can heal some wounds.

Research Associate[edit]

Research Associates work alongside R&D scientists but with a lower status in the employment hierarchy. They are usually required to conduct the more mundane or less desirable portions of a given experiment. Dr. Gordon Freeman and Dr. Colette Green are notable research associates.

Hazardous Environment Supervisor[edit]

Supervisors act in a similar role to research associates in that they assist in experiments, but they are primarily concerned with maintaining a safe work environment. Dr. Gina Cross works in this position.


Scientists will often take on additional work training employees and conducting simulations in the Sector A, as themselves or their hologram counterparts.

Survey Team[edit]

Survey Teams were organized soon after the first teleportation labs were constructed in Black Mesa. Their assignment is the most dangerous, as they are tasked with entering the border world Xen to collect samples and conduct experiments. Because of the danger, Survey Team members are highly trained in the use of the HEV Suit and a variety of weapons. Many Survey Team scientists have died on Xen.

Notable members[edit]

Gordon Freeman.

Behind the scenes[edit]

Originally, the four original scientist types were simply named Glasses, Einstein, Luther and Slick in the Half-Life model files. When the Half-Life High Definition Pack was released, "Glasses" was named "Walter", a nod to Walter's World, a popular fan fiction set in the Half-Life universe created by Kevin "Fragmaster" Bowen on Planet Half-Life. It had been previously nodded to in Opposing Force, when a scientist using the same model, Walter Bennet, was mentioned, before appearing at the end of Blue Shift. "Einstein" is a reference to Albert Einstein. "Luther", probably a nod to Martin Luther King. "Slick" was named so referring to his slicked-back hair.

All of the idle scientist chatter lines in Half-Life had been written by Kelly Bailey.[4]

Female scientists[edit]

  • In the Half-Life introduction, Black Mesa is said to be an equal opportunity employer, while no women other than the Holographic Assistant are seen during the game. Marc Laidlaw stated they all stayed at home that day; they knew there was something going on. This may be a tongue-in-cheek comment, as the real reason is that while the Half-Life team wanted the game to feature a wider range of characters, such as female scientists that would be found scarcely along the journey, they simply didn't have the needed texture read memory. The texture files for the female scientist model can be found in the folder "f_science" in the Half-Life: Source texture folder, but not in that of the original Half-Life.
  • In Half-Life 2, Valve was able to finally introduce a female scientist the way they wanted to in Half-Life (in a chapter called Communications Center), as Judith Mossman. The whole relationship with her in Half-Life 2 is a scene they tried to do in Half-Life: they had done a lot for this scene where there was a betrayal by a woman scientist; at that point in the story, Freeman was being hunted and the player would think that the scientists were all friends, so this scientist would say she is going to get help and would tell Gordon to stay in the room he was in - and then she would call the guards. They were unable to do that properly in Half-Life - they didn't really have characters on that level, and Half-Life 2 was a good opportunity to finally implement the traitor female scientist concept.[5][6]


Half-Life Alpha[edit]




Half-Life: Uplink[edit]

Half-Life: Opposing Force[edit]

Half-Life: Blue Shift[edit]

Half-Life 2[edit]


List of appearances[edit]

Main games[edit]



Black Mesa Science Team
Combine OverWiki has a list of quotes for Black Mesa Science Team.
  1. Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar, page 34
  2. 2.0 2.1 Tweet: "First, jowly one is Mike Shapiro (Barney, Gman). The second and terrible one is me." @MarcLaidlaw (Marc Laidlaw) on Twitter (December 7, 2013) (archived)
  3. Half-Life Audio Script
  4. Twitter favicon.png Tweet: "Kelly Bailey wrote all these Half-Life scientist lines" @marc_laidlaw (Marc Laidlaw) on Twitter (October 31, 2021) (archived)
  5. PC Interview: Marc Laidlaw - Valve Software's plot man and the guy who puts the story in front of the crowbar on (December 23, 2006) (archived)
  6. Old Half-Life section on GameSpot (archived)