Progress in laboratory automation depends not only on automating the physical aspects of scientific experimentation, but also on the intellectual aspects. We present the conceptual design, implementation, and our user-experience of “Adam,” which uses machine intelligence to autonomously investigate the function of genes in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. These investigations involve cycles of hypothesis formation, design of experiments to test these hypotheses, physical execution of the experiments using laboratory automation, and the analysis of the results. The physical execution of the experiments involves growing specific yeast strains in specific media and measuring growth curves. Hundreds of such experiments can be executed daily without human intervention. We believe Adam to be the first machine to have autonomously discovered novel scientific knowledge.