Whenever something can go wrong, it will go wrong. That cynical bit of wisdom is known as Murphy’s Law. But who was Murphy and why was he such a Gloomy Gus?
In the late 1940s, Air Force engineer Edward A. Murphy worked at Edwards Air Force Base near Los Angeles. In 1949, the dawn of the jet age, it was Captain Murphy’s job to figure out how much rapid deceleration the human body could tolerate. The findings would help inform future plane design.
Murphy went about this task as best he could. He instructed his assistant to mount 16 different accelerometers to a human subject. The idea was to use the instruments to measure how well the human body could tolerate the force of gravity. A rocket sled, with the human aboard, would take off super fast and then come to a quick stop.
Unfortunately, the assistant installed the accelerometers the wrong way. Upon hearing this, Murphy was said to have proclaimed, “If there is anyway to do it wrong, he’ll find it.” The comment was picked up by the press. And before long, “Murphy’s Law” became an idiom meaning “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.”
And that’s the story of Murphy’s Law. It’s a law that everybody, at one time or another, follows. Whether they want to or not.
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