Are autonomous labs the future of science?

A-Lab at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California

Marilyn Sargent/Berkeley Lab

A COMMON experience for many PhD students working in labs – the glass beaker and fume cupboard kind – is to feel like a glorified robot. So much science, especially the testing of new materials that students are often left to carry out, can require repetitive drudgery that feels like a waste of time and talent.

Artificial intelligence and actual robots might seem like an obvious way to offload some of this menial work, but, for a long time, the complexity of even simple…

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