Finagle's Laws for Experimenters

  1. If an experiment works, something has gone wrong.

  2. No matter what the anticipated result, there will always be someone eager to

  3. In any collection of data, the figure most obviously correct, beyond all need of checking, is the mistake. Corollaries:
    1. No one whom you ask for help will see it.
    2. Everyone who stops by with unsought advice will see it immediately.

  4. Once a job is fouled up, anything done to improve it only makes it worse.


  1. To study a subject best, understand it thoroughly before you start.
  2. Always keep a record of data -- it indicates you've been working.
  3. Always plot your curves, then plot your reading.
  4. In case of doubt, make it sound convincing.
  5. Experiments should be reproducible -- they should all fail in the same way.
  6. Do not believe in miracles -- rely on them.

Source: Arthur Bloch, "Murphy's Law"

Updated at 15:47 EST on Tue Apr 11, 2006