phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Murphy's Law--Origin of

Posted by Masakim on May 16, 2003

In Reply to: Murphy's Law--Origin of posted by bella on May 16, 2003

: : : : : : : : I know what it means - if anything can go wrong it will, it's Murphy's Law. But why Murphy? Who was Murphy? Where & when did this come from?

: : : : : : According to the website below, he was 'Capt. Edward A. Murphy, an engineer working on [US] Air Force Project MX981, (a project) designed to see how much sudden deceleration a person can stand in a crash,' in 1949.

: : : : : :'s_law.html

: : : : : The post came up twice - a perfect example of Murphy's Law in action!

: : : : I think it's more likely a perfect example of pressing the Submit button twice.

: : :
: : : :: Yeah OK, I have to wear the operator error thing, but if this Edward A Murphy worked on how much deceleration a person can stand in a crash, are we to assume that his experiments ended in disaster? Hence the term 'Murphy's Law'?

: : In the UK, although we know of 'Murphy's Law', the preverse things in life are reckoned to be ruled by 'Sod's Law' - much the same thing!

: On Yahoo, enter "Murphy's Law" and the 4th(?) choice given will say "Murphy's Law was Invented Here".
: "Here" is Edwards Air Force Base in California where Captain Murphy was an engineer working on a deceleration project who, discovering a miswired something-or-other, cursed the technician responsible and said "If there is a way to do it wrong, he'll find it". Someone who kept track of such sayings wrote it down, and Murphy's Law was born.

If anything can go wrong, it will. ... Sometimes attributed to George Nicholas, an American aerospace executive [of Northrop Aircraft] who in 1949 expanded a remark by Captain E. Murphy of the Wright Field-Aircraft Laboratory into the maxim that has become famous as _Murphy's Law_. ...
From _Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs & Sayings_ by Gregory Y. Titelman
[Nicholas says the expression was first used in 1949 at Edwards Air Force Base. On the track at North Base there was Colonel J.P. Stapp's experimental crash research. ... The Law's namesake was Captain Ed Murphy, a development engineer from Wright Field Aircraft Lab. Frustration with a strap transducer which was malfunctioning due to an error in wiring the strain gage bridges caused him to remark -- "If there is any way to do thing wrong, he will" -- referring to the technician who had wired the bridges at the lab. (_San Francisco Chronicle_, March 16, 1978)]
Murphy's Law: If an aircraft part can be installed incorrectly, someone will install it that way. (_American Mechanics Bulletin_, May-June 1955)
Dr. Schaefer's obsevation confirms this department's sad experience that editors as well as laboratory workers are subject to Murphy's Law, to wit: I. If something can go wrong it will, ... (_Scientic American_, April 1956)
"If anything can go wrong, it will." --Murphy's Law. (_San Francisco Chronicle_, June 17, 1957)
If anything can go wrong with an experiment -- it will. (Product Engineering_, April 21, 1958)
There is an old military maxim known as Murphy's Law which asserts that wherever there is a bolt to be turned, someday there will be someone to turn it the wrong way. (_Nation_, June 7, 1958)