Study Guide

Peter Bogert in I, Robot

By Isaac Asimov

Peter Bogert

Bogert is kind of a villain who could easily have been kind of a hero. He's a mathematician who works for US Robots—and like all mathematicians, his hands are pudgy (Liar.27) and pale (Liar.83). And he seems to be a smart guy, talking all about matrix mechanics and other math that is above us (we're good with multiplication, a little shaky on division). But he has at least one fatal flaw: he's ambitious.

See, Peter Bogerts ambition isn't a bad thing by itself, but it keeps leading him into conflict with other people. For instance, in "Liar!," Bogert starts a fight with Lanning because he wants Lanning's job; and in "Little Lost Robot," Bogert fights with Calvin because he's worried most about the company and looking good. (Meanwhile, Calvin is worried about robots killing people.) He even goes so far as to tell Major-General Kallner not to take her too seriously (Little Lost Robot.161). Which is, of course, the exact opposite of what we all should do—we have to take Calvin seriously.

Bogert gets his wish and becomes Director of Research (Escape.1), but he's also a warning to us, with his rocky road to that post and his personal conflicts on the way: sometimes science and ambition don't mix so well. Or, to put it another way, scientists are only human—which is to say, they can be jerks.