"Murphy's Law" Lead

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Mon Nov 14 06:03:52 UTC 2005

Wasn't Murphy's Law originally referred to as "Finagle's Law" in ASF?


On 11/13/05, Dave Hause <dwhause at jobe.net> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Dave Hause <dwhause at JOBE.NET>
> Subject:      Re: "Murphy's Law" Lead
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>     "The etiology of Murphy's Law lies in the human factors research of
> Colonel John Paul Stapp at Edward's Air Force Base at mid-century.  Murphy
> was one of his rocket sled technicians.  Murphy was the fountainhead from
> whose fertile mind the wording of the infamous Law sprang."
>     The rest of the article segues into a discussion of chaos theory which
> Stine says he first ran across in 1953.  There are no references.  (He does
> refer to a book by Lee Correy as if this were a different person.)  My
> Astounding collection doesn't go as far back 1955.
> Dave Hause, dwhause at jobe.net
> Ft. Leonard Wood, MO
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Fred Shapiro" <fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU>
> I wonder whether someone on this list can help me with a "Murphy's Law"
> lead.  Barry Popik discovered "Reilly's Law," identical to Murphy's Law,
> mentioned in a story by Lee Correy in Astounding Science-Fiction, Feb.
> 1955; this is the third oldest documented version of ML I am aware of.  I
> have just learned that Correy, writing under the name G. Harry Stine,
> published a 1994 essay entitled "Murphy's Law Revisited" in "The Alternate
> View" Vol. 114 No. 10 of Analog Science Fiction / Science Fact.
> Does anyone have ready access to the 1994 Analog Science Fiction / Science
> Fact and can look there to see whether Correy gives any solid information
> supporting the Edwards Air Force Base connection with ML?  It appears to
> me now that Correy was not an unrelated science-fiction vector of ML, but
> rather was probably familiar with John Paul Stapp and his work at Edwards.
> Fred Shapiro

-Wilson Gray

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