Yesterday James learned about the history of the eponym “Murphy’s law”.
Captain Edward A. Murphy was an aerospace engineer at Edwards Air Force Base in 1949. Aerospace engineers design aircraft, spacecraft and satellites to make sure they function according to design. Murphy was a team member of Project MX981 studying the psychological effects of rapid deceleration. One day Murphy noticed that a technician wired an experiment incorrectly and remarked “If there is any way to do it wrong, he’ll find it.” Murphy’s project manager George E. Nichols recorded the eponymous adage as “Murphy’s Law.” An eponym is related to the person for whom something is named. An adage is a short but memorable saying that is considered true by many people. Murphy’s Law is known simply as “If anything can go wrong, it will.”
- What job did Captain Edward Murphy have? AEROSPACE ENGINEER
- Name at least one thing an aerospace engineer designs. SPACECRAFT
- What is an eponym related to? PERSONS NAME
- What is an adage? STATEMENT ACCEPTED BY MANY
Project MX981 ended with a high safety record, attributed the observation of Murphy’s Law and the necessity to circumvent it. It became a simple reminder to engineers to be cautious and make sure that every possible outcome is accounted for. “If anything can go wrong, it will,” was then quoted widely in the media and eventually found its way into aerospace advertisements.
- What does it mean to circumvent? TO GO AROUND SOMETHING
- Why would observation of Murphy’s Law lead to a project high safety record? BECAUSE REMINDS PEOPLE TO TAKE PRECAUTIONS
Murphy’s Law has been widely adapted. In England, the same adage is called “Sod’s Law,” used as a sympathetic reference to an unlucky person. An example of Sod’s law in action can be as simple as “toast tending to land butter side down.” Modern computer hackers observe Hanlon’s Razor that eliminates unlikely explanations for phenomenon with “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” In Mostly Harmless, science fiction author Douglas Adams writes “a common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.”
- Pick one variation of Murphy’s Law and explain it. AN EXAMPLE OF MURPHY’S LAW VARIATION IS COMPUTER PROGRAMMERS WHO TRY TO ACCOUNT FOR USER ERROR.
Creative Writing: Now that you have learned about eponymous adages, can you think of a short, but memorable, saying that can be attributed to you, a friend or family member? What would be (Student’s Name)’s Law?
AN ADDAGE I CAN THINK OF IS DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE MIND OF AN AUTISTIC PERSON. I WOULD CALL THIS SOMA’S LAW.
Reflect on Murphy’s Law; “If anything can go wrong, it will.” Describe a time when this happened in your life. Did anything positive happen as a result of things going wrong? MY ENTIRE LIFE WAS UNDER MURPHY’S LAW. SO ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING THAT COULD GO WRONG DID GO WRONG. I WAS STUCK IN SCHOOL WHERE I WAS TREATED LIKE AN IDIOT ALL THE TIME. I HAD NO WAY COMMUNICATING WITH ANYONE. MY LIFE WAS NOT MEANINGFUL. I WAS ABSOLUTELY MISERABLE. THEN RPM CHANGED MY LIFE. IT OPENED THE DOORS TO COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATION. THE QUALITY OF MY LIFE HAS RADICALLY IMPROVED SINCE ELIZABETH, SHANNON AND SOMA CAME INTO MY LIFE.