Astute colleague David G. Schrubbe sent over a link about the first robot to make an autonomous scientific discovery. A little blurb from the piece on labspaces.net:
Using artificial intelligence, Adam hypothesised that certain genes in baker’s yeast code for specific enzymes which catalyse biochemical reactions in yeast. The robot then devised experiments to test these predictions, ran the experiments using laboratory robotics, interpreted the results and repeated the cycle.
Just to reiterate, the robot did this WITHOUT HUMAN INTERVENTION.