What’s behind the Murphy’s Law?

Everyone has ever heard about the Murphy’s Law or probably is familiar to people who has mentioned it. And everyone knows that this law is neither positive nor optimistic. In fact, the law says something that at first glance gives you some pessimism. The Murphy´s Law states “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong”.


A phrase that implies the nature, the circumstances, the imperfection, etc. Created with philosophy background it is also a simple way of understanding the challenges we face. The things are made with errors and the possibilities of making mistakes or errors when operating it.

Source: thepsychologist.bps.org.uk

But now, who devised this simple written phrase? It was written by Edward Aloysius Murphy Jr., an American Aerospace Engineer and former World War II pilot, who was involved in several safety aeronautical projects. One relevant project was a rocket-powered sled mounted on tracks to study the deaccelerating effects on human. In addition, he took part on crew escape systems design, as well as safety and life support systems for aircraft.

Lt. Col. John P. Stapp rides the rocket sled at Edwards Air Force Base.
Source: U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain.

Murphy was called in to help make the G-force measurements more accurate. The sensors were installed backwards and malfunctioning. The exact words or order he used to describe are uncertain.


According to Author Spark, Murphy once told People magazine he blamed others for the faulty sensors, saying if there’s more than one way to do a job, and one of those ways will result in disaster, then somebody will do it that way.

Patricia Hluchy. TORONTO STAR

The law has several written ways, but it directs to the same, the errors, the mistakes, the wrong things. Such a pessimistic phrase is present in life. Despite of this, the author intention went beyond, inspiring the same to look for better designs, defensive systems and improvements to critical systems.

Aircraft cockpit, a critical system.

So, the next time you hear about Murphy´s Law, remember that a pessimistic phrase helped to improve the aircraft and systems design.



Article: https://www.thestar.com/news/2009/01/11/the_man_behind_murphys_law.html

Cover photo: https://www.nytimes.com/asiana airlines


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