Edward A. Murphy, Jr.

Military Person

1918 – 1990


Who was Edward A. Murphy, Jr.?

Edward Aloysius Murphy, Jr. was an American aerospace engineer who worked on safety-critical systems. He is best known for Murphy's law, which is said to state, "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong."

Born in the Panama Canal Zone in 1918, Murphy was the eldest of five children. After attending high school in New Jersey, he went to the United States Military Academy at West Point, graduating in 1940. The same year he accepted a commission into the United States Army, and undertook pilot training with the United States Army Air Corps in 1941. During World War II he served in the Pacific Theatre in India, China and Burma, achieving the rank of major.

Following the end of hostilities, in 1947 Murphy attended the United States Air Force Institute of Technology, becoming R&D Officer at the Wright Air Development Center of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. It was while here that he became involved in the high-speed rocket sled experiments which led to the coining of Murphy's law. Murphy himself was reportedly unhappy with the commonplace interpretation of his law, which is seen as capturing the essential "cussedness" of inanimate objects.


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Jan 11, 1918
Panama Canal Zone
Also known as
  • Edward A Murphy
  • United States of America
  • Air Force Institute of Technology
Jul 17, 1990

on July 23, 2013