Date: Mon, 18 Dec 1995 08:55:10 CDT From: Randy Roberts Subject: Murphy's Law I believe I missed some of the earlier posts on this term and so, apologize if this is repetitive. I think the 1958 citation which has been mentioned comes from The Nation, volume 168, no. 23, June 7, 1958, pp. 505-506. The cite, in part, states "There is an old military maxim known as Murphy's Law which asserts that wherever there is a bolt to be turned, someday there will be someone to turn it in the wrong way." The story concerns a Nike Ajax missile which accidentally exploded in New Jersey on May 22nd. In 1978, columnist Charles McCabe, in the San Francisco Chronicle wrote a column on Murphy's Law (March 16, page 53). Again quoting, "Nichols says the expression was first used in 1949 at Edwards Air Force Base. On the track at North Base there was Colonel J. P. Stapp's experimental crash research testing. The actual work was being done by Northrop Aircraft, and Nichols was Northrop's project manager. The Law's namesake was Captain Ed Murphy, a development engineer from Wright Field Aircraft Lab. Frustration with a strap transducer which was malfunctioning due to an error in wiring the strain gage bridges caused him to remark -- 'If there is any way to do things wrong, he will' -- referring to the technician who had wired the bridges at the lab. A couple of weeks after the naming Colonel Stapp indicated at a press conference that our fine safety record during several years of simulated crash force testing was the result of a firm belief in Murphy's Law, and our consistent effort to deny the inevitable. The widespread references to the Law in manufacturers' ads within only a few months was fantastic -- and Murphy's Law was off and running wild." A 1978 issue (?) of Verbatim attributed Murphy's Law to Ireland. Another author, Jim Russell, wrote a book in 1978 called Russell on Murphy's Law, in which he supposedly traced the saying back to early Egypt. In Peter Tamony's files I did find one earlier cite. -- San Francisco Chronicle, 17 June 1957, page 21. A column by Stanton Delaplane titled "Postcard From England" A subheading reads "If anything can go wrong, it will." -- Murphy's Law Randy Roberts University of Missouri-Columbia robertsr[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]