Murphy's Law – How Did We Come Up With It?

Last Update 2012-07-04 10:34:17 | Posted On 2012-03-14 11:28:31 | Read 11875 times | 1 Comments


There are many theories and stories surrounding the term “Murphy’s Law”, a term best described as having the meaning “anything that can go wrong will go wrong”.  But how did the great Murphy surname of Ireland become so associated with the term?

Well, while it is difficult to come up with the first time it was used it is widely believed to be linked to the work of a certain Edward Murphy who was an American aerospace engineer. Born in 1918, Edward went on to join the United States Army Air Corps and during World War II served in China, Burma and India, eventually becoming a Major.

After the war, Edward became a Research & Development Office at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base where he was involved in the USAF project MX981 in which high-speed rocket sled experiments took place.

And it was within these experiments that the term “Murphy’s Law” was said to have been created in which the worst case scenario  should always be assumed – in fact, Edward believed that this should be an important element of defensive design.

However, the term gradually took on a most generic meaning and is used widely as part of our language – Edward himself was believed to have been unimpressed with the term and was in part offended by the trivialness attached to his theory.


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