ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Cave Johnson: CEO and Founder of Aperture Science

Updated on October 3, 2014

The Guy Who Was Responsible For GLaDOS. And lemons.

Who is Cave Johnson? He is the founder and CEO of Aperture Science, and one of the personalities who plays an important part in the video game Portal 2. He's the guy who is not going to passively accept life's lemons. He thinks that if you love safe science so much, then why don't you marry it? He's not exactly sane. And he loves the lem- uh, the limelight. And he's responsible for the Lemon Rant Portal 2 Meme.

He is voiced by J.K. Simmons (a.k.a. J. Jonah Jameson in Spider-Man) and narrates a series of short 'advertisement' videos relating to Portal 2, and products developed by Aperture Science. His personality, saved on a computer as automated pre-recorded voice messages, also turns up during the game itself to guide you, the unwilling test subject, through the first few chambers (much like GLaDOS did in the original Portal).

A self-made billionaire, he died of mercury (or possibly Moon Rock) poisoning, and his recorded messages are from when he was in his late 60s.

He is not the Cave Johnson on Wikipedia, an 18th Century Congressman and Postmaster General!

The Three Pillars of Aperture Science

As laid out by Cave Johnson

Pillar one: Science without results is just witchcraft.

Pillar two: Get results or you're fired.

Pillar three: if you suspect a coworker of bein' a witch, report them immediately. I cannot stress that enough. Witchcraft will not be tolerated.

Should Science Be Safe? - Is Cave Johnson a crazy lunatic?

Turret King by nekuroSilver
Turret King by nekuroSilver | Source

"Science isn't about why, it's about why not. You ask: Why is so much of our science dangerous? I say: Why not marry safe science if you love it so much. In fact, why not invent a special safety door that won't hit you in the butt on the way out, because you are fired."

~ quote from Cave Johnson

Should science be safe? Or was Cave Johnson right?

See results

Cave Johnson's Personality - What was he like?

A classic salesman, he loves science and thinks everyone else should too. Not that he necessarily understands it... no, he's a Big Picture guy. He's the guy who has the millionaire idea and runs around persuading other people to carry it out for him. And buy it from him. And test it for him. And he's good at it.

Also, he's in charge, and if you break all the bones in your legs because they swapped the Repulsion Gel with blue paint in the control group, well, that's your own damn fault, and very good science.

And we all love science, don't we?

The Original Portrait of Cave Johnson

The Original Portrait of Cave Johnson
The Original Portrait of Cave Johnson

The Lemons Rant - When life gives Cave Johnson lemons... he chooses not to take it.

Which Portal character is the least sane?

Who's the Craziest?

See results

Behind the Scenes At Aperture Science

Aperture Investment Opportunities - Narrated by Cave Johnson

Best Cave Johnson Quotes

The funniest lines from the man of Aperture Science himself

  • When life gives you lemons, don't make lemonade. Make life take back the lemons back! Get mad! 'I don't want your damn lemons! What am I supposed to do with these?'
  • All right. We're working on a little teleportation experiment. Now, this doesn't work with all skin types, so try to remember which skin is yours, and if it doesn't teleport along with you, we'll do what we can to sew you right back into it.
  • We're just throwing science at a wall here and seeing what sticks
  • Now, if you're part of Control Group Kepler-Seven, we implanted a tiny microchip about the size of a postcard into your skull. Most likely you've forgotten it's even there, but if it starts vibrating and beeping during this next test, let us know, because that means it's about to hit five hundred degrees, so we're gonna need to go ahead and get that out of you pretty fast.
  • Oh, in case you get covered in that repulsion gel, here's some advice the lab boys gave me: DO NOT get covered in the repulsion gel. We haven't entirely nailed down what element it is yet, but I'll tell you this: It's a lively one, and it does NOT like the human skeleton.
  • If the laws of physics don't apply in the future, then god help you.
  • You're not part of the control group, by the way. You get the gel. Last poor son-of-a-gun got blue paint. *chuckles* All joking aside, that did happen. Broke every bone in his legs.
  • Just a heads up: we're gonna have a superconductor turned up full blast and pointed at you for the duration of this next test.
  • Those of you volunteering to be injected with preying mantis DNA, I've got some good news, and some bad news. The bad news is we're postponing the test indefinitely. The good news is we've got a much better test for you: fighting an army of mantis men. Pick up a rifle and follow the yellow line, you'll know when the test starts.
  • The bean counters literally told me we could not afford to buy 7 dollars worth of moon rocks, much less 70 million. Bought 'em anyway.
  • Just a heads-up: That coffee we gave you earlier had fluorescent calcium in it so we can track neuronal activity in your brain. There's a slight chance the calcium could harden and vitrify your frontal lobe. Anyway, don't stress yourself thinking about it
  • All these science spheres are made of asbestos, by the way. Keeps out the rats. Let us know if you feel a shortness of breath, persistent dry cough, or your heart stopping. Because that's not part of the test. That's asbestos.
  • The lab boys have just informed me that I should not have mentioned the control group.
  • They say science is built on the shoulders of giants. Not here! At Aperture we do all our science from scratch. No hand-holding.
  • Cave Johnson. We're done here.

Aperture Science Products - From shower curtains to Longfall boots.

Early Aperture Science Products

1953 Shower curtains for the military.

The Navy is the only part of the US army not buying his shower curtains, and in 1978 Cave Johnson attempts to manufacture a set of seven poisonously deadly curtains for the House Naval Appropriations committee. He fatally poisons himself working on the mercury-injected rubber sheeting. He leaves a three tier vision for the future.

1981 Heimlich Counter-Maneuver and Take-A-Wish Foundation-related products.

This causes immensely bad press (although the Heimlich Counter-Maneuver appears to have been used by the US government in acts of overseas terrorism) and Aperture Science switches to pursuing the development of the last option, "man-sized ad hoc quantum tunnel through physical space with possible applications as a shower curtain."

Later Aperture Science Products

1982 Version 1.07 of GLaDOS, later "1.07a" and "1.09".

1986 Rivalry with Black Mesa prompts development of the final GLaDOS, with the aim of beating them to developing functioning portal technology.

1998 Propulsion Gel and Repulsion Gel released as diet aids. Both fail and are used as testing devices instead.

1998 For internal Enrichment Center use only: the Excursion Funnel, Thermal Discouragement Beam, Aerial Faith Plate and Pneumatic Diversity Vent.Ongoing/Date Unknown: Investment opportunities offered in various elements being used or tested in the testing facility: Panels, Bots, Turrets and Longfall Boots.

Winking Cave by no-company
Winking Cave by no-company | Source

Cave Johnson's Game Appearances - Where does he turn up in Portal?

  • He is mentioned on the promotional/ tie-in website.
  • Referenced in Portal and Portal: Still Alive - some graffiti left by Doug Rattman including his log in name and password ("cjohnson" and ) and his photograph stuck to a wall.
  • In Portal ARG
  • A pre-recorded message left by him appears in the comic Portal 2: Lab Rat which explains how Chell ended up being back in the lab for the beginning of Portal 2.
  • And his largest appearance to date was as a series of pre-recorded instructions and commentary in Portal 2

Cave Johnson-Related Graffiti in Portal - A photograph of Cave Johnson is stuck up on the wall by Doug Rattman

Doug Rattman's graffiti in Portal - the guy in the orange suit is Cave Johnson
Doug Rattman's graffiti in Portal - the guy in the orange suit is Cave Johnson
Sam Rayburn
Sam Rayburn

The portrait stuck on the wall above was based off the image on the right, of Sam Rayburn, the longest serving Speaker in the house of Representatives in US history.

Cave Johnson and the Official History of Aperture Science - Cave Johnson was the founder and CEO of the mad science company and took it from shower curtains to

From The history of Aperture Science
From The history of Aperture Science

Official History of Cave Johnson (and the early history of Aperture Science)

  • 1953 - Aperture Science begins operations as a manufacturer of shower curtains. Early product line provides a very low-tech portal between inside and outside your shower.
  • 1956 - Eisenhower administration awards Aperture a contract to provide shower curtains to all branches of the military except the Navy.
  • 1957 - 1975 - Mostly shower curtains.
  • 1978 - Aperture Founder and CEO, Cave Johnson, is exposed to mercury (NB: During Portal 2, he claims to have fallen ill due to exposure to the main ingredients of Conversion Gel - ground-up Moon Rocks) while secretly developing a dangerous mercury-injected rubber sheeting from which he plans to manufacture seven deadly shower curtains to be given as gifts to each member of the House Naval Appropriations committee.
  • 1979 - Both of Cave Johnson's kidneys fail. Brian damaged, dying, and incapable of being convinced that time is not now flowing backwards, Johnson lays out a three tiered R&D program. The results, he says, will 'guarantee the continued success of Aperture Science far into the fast-approaching distant past.'
    • Tier 1: The Heimlich Counter-Manoeuvre - A reliable technique for interrupting the life-saving Heimlich Manoeuvre.
    • Tier 2: The Take-A-Wish Foundation - A charitable organisation that will purchase wishes from the parents of terminally ill children and redistribute them to wish-deprived but otherwise health adults.
    • Tier 3: 'Some kind of rip in the fabric of space... That would... Well, it'd be like, I don't know, something that would help with the shower curtains I guess. I haven't worked this idea out as much as the wish-taking one.'

Memos From Cave Johnson

On Danger
On Danger
On Casualty Rates
On Casualty Rates
On Death
On Death
A confidential letter
A confidential letter


October 17th, 1976

Re: Human Enrichment & Testing Initiative, Resource Acquisitions

1. "Low Risk" Human Resource Acquisitions

a. Hoboes and Tramps

Lives spent wandering aimlessly, cowering before authority, and drinking concussive amounts of home-distilled potato alcohol make hoboes the perfect Human Enrichment test subjects. The hobo questions nothing, will follow orders if fed, and, like all hoboes, has a restless, wandering heart. (Note: The wandering heart of the hobo should not be confused with Drifting Heart Syndrome, which several transients contracted during testing.)

b. Child Orphans and Foundlings

Deep-rooted abandonment issues leave most orphans highly susceptible to shame-based psychology (for a complete list of opportune moments to obliterate the esteem of test subjects, please consult Training Video #89-D, "You'd Perform This Test Better if You Had Parents"). Recent advances in the use of scorn, flattery used in an ironic context and naked contempt as motivational tools have yielded similarly profitable results.

c. Psychiatric Patients

Past experience shows these fellows are simply not shy at all about carrying on, disrupting tests and defecating just about anywhere that pleases them. Frankly, it is off-putting, and small wonder why Aperture-brand mental institutions are being phased out in favor of more orphanages.

d. Seniors

Frail, brittle hands make holding science devices difficult. Most were born before the advent of science, and can become confused and disoriented when asked to participate in relatively simple tests (teleportation, invisibility, adjusting esteem levels of orphan children).


Buy The Portal Games! - But be VERY careful of second hand versions as Steam doesn't allow multiple activations

Portal was originally released as a small extra game in The Orange Box compilation.

Due to its unexpected popularity, Valve brought Portal out on its own - for more than twice the price. Stick with the Orange Box version.

In 2011, the full length, final, shiny, awesome sequel version, Portal 2, came out, and we saw a lot more of Cave Johnson.

Awesome Portal Stuff
Awesome Portal Stuff | Source

Comments - Cave Johnson. We're done here.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • laetusviator lm profile image

      laetusviator lm 

      6 years ago

      Haha, this lens is fantastic! Well done.

    • Lemming13 profile image


      7 years ago

      I love this lens to bits (and so does my son who came in to enjoy the Cave Johnson video clips); blessed!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)