Aperture Science is a scientific research company founded by Cave Johnson. Portal and Portal 2 take place in Aperture Science's Enrichment Center, which is dedicated to endlessly testing the Aperture Science products and the humans that use them. Their logo is essentially just a picture of a camera lens with the ƒ-number (aperture) 2.8.
Newspaper reporting the purchase of the salt mine
Aperture Science was founded as Aperture Fixtures in the early 1940s by Cave Johnson. Aperture Fixtures was primarily dedicated to the manufacture and distribution of shower curtains – a low-tech portal between the inside and outside of a shower – with Cave Johnson winning the "Shower Curtain Salesman of 1943" award. Some time between 1943 and 1947 the company's name was changed to "Aperture Science Innovators". While this was initially done to make their shower curtains sound more hygienic, the company's focus would indeed soon shift to actual science. Cave Johnson purchased a large, abandoned salt mine in Upper Michigan in which Aperture Science's Enrichment Center would be built; however, there was at least one alternate location in Cleveland, Ohio.
Throughout the late 1940s and the 1950s, Aperture Science would begin its comprehensive testing and research practices. The best possible test subjects, the likes of Olympians, astronauts and war heroes were first chosen. They were also the second largest contractor after Black Mesa for the Department of Defense from 1952 to 1954. Aperture's developments in this period included Repulsion Gel, the Weighted Storage Cube, the 1500 Megawatt Super Colliding Super Button and the Aperture Science Portable Quantum Tunneling Device, an early and significantly larger version of the modern Portal Gun.
In 1968, Cave Johnson attending court hearings regarding Aperture Science's involvement with the disappearances of astronauts, likely due to many of them not returning from testing.
By the 1970s, Aperture Science was financially unstable. The Olympians, astronauts and war heroes that were used as test subjects were replaced with vagrants who were paid $60 for their time. Aperture Science would continue its research and created Propulsion Gel.
In the 1980s, test participation became mandatory for all staff, raising the quality of the test subjects, but diminishing employee retention. Aperture's financial problems were severe at this time, but development continued. Moon rocks were used to create Conversion Gel, an efficient portal conductor. Cave Johnson would also be poisoned by his experiments with moon rocks and become deathly ill. As his health degraded he delegated his leadership to his assistant Caroline, asking that her consciousness be placed in a computer. Testing continued with the hope that passing through portals repeatedly might somehow cure Cave Johnson of his illness. Aperture Science also began development of its Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System, an artificial intelligence which would be used to oversee scientific testing.
In 1998, GLaDOS was brought online for the first time during Aperture Science's annual bring-your-daughter-to-work-day. GLaDOS instantly became self-aware and homicidal. GLaDOS flooded the enrichment center with a deadly neurotoxin, killing most of the scientists. Aperture Science was effectively shut down and placed into a permanent testing cycle by GLaDOS.
Staff members and associates
- The image shown in the newspaper clipping of the salt mine is a combination of this and this image.