If I recall correctly, it was an Isaac Asimov story about a malfunctioning robot which created a machine which violated the laws of Physics, but I dont remember the name of the story and some details about the story I want to be able to re-read now. Though I'm not 100% sure it was an Isaac Asimov story.

Does anyone know the name of a sci fi story about a malfunctioning robot which created a machine which violated the laws of Physics?

3 Answers 3


Could be Robot AL-76 Goes Astray, which is one of Asimov's. The titular robot is meant to operate a 'disinto' on the moon, but ends up lost on Earth. Trying to get back to its programmed function, it builds a device in a scrap yard that ends up being the most advanced disinto ever seen - it destroys much of the local scenery. Investigators find one power source - a single battery.


This could also be the Asimov story "Escape!" in which a specialized robot, "the Brain" goes a bit crazy as it develops a hyperspace drive, because the drive will cause the temporary death of the crew, which violates the First Law of Robotics. I don't think the drive "violates the laws of Physics", but it did reveal new laws. According to the Wikipedia article linked above: "The Brain has become a practical joker: it hasn't built any manual controls for the ship, no showers or beds, either, and it only provides tinned beans and milk for the crew to survive on."

I was also reminded of the Asimov story "Little Lost Robot" but it doesn't really fit, as no new device or discovery was made by the Nestor robot in that story.


There was an Asimov short story about planetary computer / AI which was asked to solve a problem of which would break the laws of thermodynamics. This story was called "The Last Question".

  • Whilst this may be true is there any reason to suspect that the OP is wrong in that they were remembering "Robot AL-76 Goes Astray"? They have currently confirmed that to be correct and so unless you suspect they're mistaken this can't be the correct answer and so merely a work which also fits the criteria but that would make this a comment not an answer.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Feb 3, 2021 at 11:57
  • Yes, Multivac, that's a very famous story but this is about a robot. Good try though
    – Pablo
    Feb 3, 2021 at 11:58
  • 3
    Probably my favorite Isaac Asimov story
    – Pablo
    Feb 3, 2021 at 12:01
  • There's an implicit spoiler here, since the question is about robots that actually did violate physcial laws. Feb 3, 2021 at 18:13

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