Murphy’s Law

"If anything can go wrong, it will.” That is Murphy’s Law. But who was Murphy?

The standard story is that the term was coined in 1949. The Murphy in question is Captain Ed Murphy, a development engineer assigned to Colonel J.P. Stapp’s research on the rocket sleds that tested the limits of human endurance to acceleration and deceleration at Muroc Field, California (later renamed Edwards AFB). Murphy was referring to a particular technician, whose name has been lost to history, who had wired a piece of equipment incorrectly when he remarked, “if there is any way to do things wrong, he will.” A few weeks later in a press conference, Stapp allegedly credited his program’s safety record to planning for Murphy’s Law. The rest was history.

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