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This subject is from the Black Mesa Incident era.This is a featured article.
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"Why do we all have to wear these ridiculous ties?"
―Black Mesa scientist[src]

The Black Mesa Science Team comprise the overwhelming majority of Black Mesa's population. Along with the Black Mesa Security Force, it is one of the most important bodies of the Black Mesa personnel.


Each scientist is granted a different security clearance specific to his or her 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. Some scientists are trained in the use of the MP5 submachine gun as part of Hazard Course training, but most have little or no combat skills or experience.

In the Half-Life Audio Script, the scientists are described as follows: The scientists are brisk and businesslike; faced with the stress of fantastically improbable situations, they either devolve into hysterical panic and shock, or shield themselves with hyperrational analysis. They are your coworkers, mentors, and allies; although occasionally they are too busy to even notice you. When you are injured, they will inject healing agents, making them extremely important to your existence.[2]


  • Research and Development - 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 - 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 - 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.
  • Instructor - Scientists will often take on additional work training employees and conducting simulations in the Sector A Training Facility, as themselves or their hologram counterparts.
  • Survey Team - 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 borderworld 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

Gordon Freeman.

Eli Vance.


Although cowardly and clumsy at times, scientists can assist the player with certain tasks, such as using retinal scanners to open doors. They also tend to be physically weak, dying within a few shots, as well as having no combat capabilities.

They will stop following the player once they are too far away or if they are attacked while following him.

Scientists have some first aid skills and will administer a 25-point medicine boost to a wounded player with a health level under 50. Cleansuit scientists do not have this ability.

If one of them is attacked by the player, they will be afraid and run away from him (regardless if it was intentional or not). This is also the case if a scientist witnesses the player kill other scientists or security guards.

They also say random, sometimes humorous sentences, most of the time when they are idle.

Behind the scenes

  • Originally, all Black Mesa employees were to be hostile to the player. The Barney NPC was then used by Valve's AI programmer Steve Bond to run experiments in enemy squad behavior. By putting the player in the role of squad leader, and forcing Barney to follow instead of fight the player, Bond hoped for an easy way to test navigation rules. The unexpected result of this experiment was a working companion character, which instantly appealed to every playtester who saw Barney in action. This caused the team to rethink large portions of the story and Gordon's role in it, and the game was completely overhauled in late 1997. In that process of converting enemies to allies, the team also came to think about characters that were neither allies nor enemies to the player, leading to the creation of the G-Man.[1]
  • Security guards and scientists were also to have a much more frightened, almost cartoonish face.[3]
  • There's a scientist seen talking to The G-Man in the Anomalous Materials chapter.

Scientist talking to The Gman.

  • There are numerous unused audio files that were never heard in the retail Half-Life. Based on the amount of cut content, it is likely that Valve planned to feature unique scenes which involved at least one scientist. However, the majority of Half-Life was overhauled and these projects were most likely abandoned.
  • Scientist NPCs in Half-Life had the ability to react to dead corpses near them. If another NPC died near them they would make comments for the odor like Barney NPCs do. It is unknown whether the ability is broken or cut in the final release.

Scientists list

The scientist NPC features four standard models, with a cleansuit variant and the dead Survey Team members in HEV Suits found on Xen, as well as the Zombie version. Each four standard version has two HD versions (one introduced in the High Definition Pack, the other in Decay).

Most of the time, scientist models are used randomly by the game. However, in many specific instances the same model is used each time.

Early game models Game models HD game models Models Names Comments
Scientist with gloves.png



Bullchicken white scientist run.jpg


0089-stealing food.JPG

Bigmomma wallpaper.jpg

0081-sci mirror.JPG

Scientist render.jpg

Scientist 01.jpg

Scientist 01 multi.jpg

Scientist 01 hd.jpg

Civ coat scientist 01.jpg

Scientist 01 decay.jpg

Scientist 01 multi hd.jpg

scientist 01 Walter; Glasses[5] Was turned into Walter Bennet, used for Smithers and Harold, and was the basis for Isaac Kleiner. It also has a player model for the Half-Life multiplayer version. It also has a HD civilian version, with or without his lab coat on his arm, and another civilian reading The Mesa Times.
Hl red decal.jpg

Einstein old model.jpg

0005-sci bigmoustache door.JPG

0002-falling sci.JPG

0007-sci box.JPG

Scientist 02.jpg Scientist 02 hd.jpg Civ coat scientist 02.jpg Scientist 02 decay.jpg scientist 02 Einstein Was used for S. Reardon. He is featured on Kleiner's Lab photo; he has yet to be adapted into a distinct character. He also has a HD civilian version, with or without his lab coat on his arm, and another civilian reading The Mesa Times, although it is not seen in-game.
Revive barney.jpg

Early sci laboratory.jpg

Scientist 03.jpg Scientist 03 hd.jpg Scientist 03 decay.jpg scientist 03 Luther Was used for S. Jones and Simmons and was the basis for Eli Vance.
0080-sci dead.JPG

Scientist bulls.jpg

0003-sci lab early.JPG

0003-sci scared early.JPG

Scientist 04.jpg Scientist 04 hd.jpg Scientist 04 decay.jpg scientist 04 Slick Is featured on Kleiner's Lab photo; he has yet to be adapted into a distinct character. His original model had brighter hair.
Scientist clean suit.jpg Scientist clean suit multi.jpg Cl suit.png Scientist clean suit hd.jpg cleansuit scientist Was introduced in Opposing Force, in the chapter Welcome to Black Mesa. In the HD model, only the head is changed. It also has a player model for the multiplayer version.
HEV scientist model.jpg HEV scientist model old.jpg HEV scientist model old HD.png player / helmet Its Half-Life model is "player.mdl" and features Gordon's head or a suit helmet. Used for the dead Survey Team members found around Xen. A different model is featured in the multiplayer version.


  • Through a security camera, in the Blue Shift chapter Insecurity, a scientist can be seen briefly dancing to himself, while another is watching skeptically. The dancing animation was originally in the Gonome model, under the name "veryhappy" in the original model and "sohappy" in the Steam version. In the original scientist model, it is named "sohappy," and it's named "hambone" in the Steam version.
  • While scientists can heal the player only once, it is possible for same scientist to heal the player twice if they both go to the point where the next map loads. This will allow the player to be healed for 50 health points in total, which is useful on hard difficulties (where the syringe used by scientists is not dependent on difficulty and it always gives 25 health points) or in areas where the Medkits are rare.





Half-Life: Uplink

Half-Life: Opposing Force

Half-Life: Blue Shift

Half-Life: Decay

Half-Life 2

List of appearances