Civilization Wiki

Science is "knowledge about or study of the natural world based on facts learned through experiments and observation."[1] In Civilization IV, science is the "currency" with which a civilization "buys" research, and thus technology. Science is represented in the game by the science icon (Beaker (Civ4)), which looks like a half-full beaker. For this reason science is often called "beakers" by players; it is also referred to as "lightbulbs", referring to earlier versions of Civ where the science icon was a little lightbulb.

Base Science and Finished Science[]

There are two kinds of science used to compute production: base science, and finished science. Base science is what most science-producing processes yield. Base science is then multiplied in a city by science multiplying buildings (e.g. Libraries), yielding finished science. Finished science is the value that is invested in technology. Usually the context in which "science" is mentioned should be sufficient to make it clear which sort is being referred to.

Note that the terminology used here is particular to this wiki. There are no general terms used in the community distinguishing the two types of science.

Science Production Methods[]

Science is produced in several ways, in all cases except bulbing in a city:

  • Commerce (Coin (Civ4)) may be converted into base science via the spending sliders
  • Many kinds of specialists produce 1 or more base science. All specialists produce +3 base science when the civilization is running the Representation civic.
  • Buildings may produce base science. No building does this by default; the most common way to see it happen in the game is when you've built the University of Sankore wonder. (Events can also give science bonuses to buildings, but this is rare.)
  • Building Beaker (Civ4) Science in a city converts finished hammers into finished science.
  • Great People can "bulb" particular techs, instantly producing a large quantity of finished science.

Science Multipliers[]

All base science produced in a city may be multiplied if the city has many different buildings, as follows:

In addition, if the civilization is running the Free Religion civic, it gets +10% science in all cities.

When multiple science multipliers are present, their effects are additive. For example, a city with a Library and a University gets +50% science; that is, its base science is multiplied by 1.5 to determine its finished science.

Science Spending[]

All finished science is invested into research accounts that are linked to particular technologies. When sufficient research has been accumulated in the account for a tech, the civilization completes the research and the tech is learned. Any overflow will be carried into the next technology researched.


See also[]

Civilization IV [edit]
WarlordsBeyond the SwordColonization
† Total conversion remake of the game Sid Meier's Colonization using Civilization IV engine