My beakers! Where are my beakers!
In Civilization 5, as in Civilization games before it, research is represented by the beaker icon (a small beaker filled with blue fluid). As a result, research income is generally referred to as beakers. The more beakers you have, them more quickly you research technology. Your total income is always represented in the upper left hand corner of the primary game window.
So, where do beakers come from? The primarily come from your population. Each citizen generates one beaker per turn, although this isn’t readily apparent on in the city details display because his income does not show up on the city map.
This base number of beakers, however, is modified by many things. City improvements often increase beaker income by providing bonuses – the Library, for example, provides one extra beaker for every two citizens in a city. Improvements allow for a further increase of beaker income through the assignment of citizens to specialist roles at those buildings – this takes citizens away from working the land and instead assigns them to academic pursuits.
You can also increase beaker production through social policies and wonders. The rationalism branch, for example, has a number of social policies that improve overall beaker income. These overall bonuses can be a great boon to your beaker production and are a must-have if you want to go for a scientific victory.