Murphy's Law of Thermodynamics:
Things get worse under pressure.
Clarke's First Law:
When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
When the lay public rallies round an idea that is denounced by distinguished but elderly scientists, and supports that idea with great fervor and emotion -- the distinguished but elderly scientists are then, after all, right.
Clarke's Second Law:
The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible.
Clarke's Third Law:
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Clarke's Law of Revolutionary Ideas:
Every revolutionary idea -- in Science, Politics, Art or Whatever -- evokes three stages of reaction. They may be summed up by the three phrases:
1. "It is completely impossible -- don't waste my time."
2. "It is possible, but it is not worth doing."
3. "I said it was a good idea all along."
The number of different hypotheses erected to explain a given biological phenomenon is inversely proportional to the available knowledge.
Everitt's Form of the Second Law of Thermodynamics:
Confusion (entropy) is always increasing in society. Only if someone or something works extremely hard can this confusion be reduced to order in a limited region. Nevertheless, this effort will still result in an increase in the total confusion of society at large.
Fett's Law of the Lab:
Never replicate a successful experiment.
Science is Truth. Don't be misled by fact.
Finagle's First Law:
If an experiment works, something has gone wrong.
Finagle's Second Law:
No matter what result is anticipated, there will always be someone eager to (a) misinterpret it, (b) fake it, or (c) believe it happened according to his own pet theory.
Finagle's Third Law:
In any collection of data, the figure most obviously correct, beyond all need of checking, is the mistake.
1. No one whom you ask for help will see it.
2. Everyone who stops by with unsought advice will see it immediately.
Finagle's Fourth Law:
Once a job is fouled up, anything done to improve it only makes it worse.
Finagle's Law According to Niven:
The perversity of the universe tends to a maximum.
Finagle's Laws of Information:
1. The information you have is not what you want.
2. The information you want is not what you need.
3. The information you need is not what you can obtain.
4. The information you can obtain costs more than you want to pay.
Ever since the first scientific experiment, man has been plagued by the increasing antagonism of nature. It seems only right that nature should be logical and neat, but experience has shown that this is not the case. A further series of rules has been formulated, designed to help man accept the pigheadedness of nature.
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 draw your curves, then plot the reading.
4. In case of doubt, make it sound convincing.
5. Experiments should be reproducible. They should all fail in the same way.
6. When you don't know what you are doing, do it NEATLY.
7. Teamwork is essential; it allows you to blame someone else.
8. Always verify your witchcraft.
9. Be sure to obtain meteorological data before leaving on vacation.
10. Do not believe in miracles. Rely on them.
First Law of Laboratory Work:
Hot glass looks exactly the same as cold glass.
Futility Factor (Carson's Consolation):
No experiment is ever a complete failure -- it can always serve as a bad example, or the exception that proves the rule (but only if it is the first experiment in the series).
Under the most rigorously controlled conditions of pressure, temperature, volume, humidity, and other variables, any experimental organism will do as it damn well pleases.
Kohn's Second Law:
Any experiment is reproducible until another laboratory tries to repeat it.
If the facts do not conform to the theory, they must be disposed of.
1. The bigger the theory, the better.
2. The experiment may be considered a success if no more than 50% of the observed measurements must be discarded to obtain a correspondence with the theory. (Compensation Corollary)
Any simple idea will be worded in the most complicated way.
Love is a matter of chemistry; sex is a matter of physics.
Variables won't; constants aren't.
If the experiment works, you must be using the wrong equipment.
Price's Law of Science:
Scientists who dislike the restraints of highly organized research like to remark that a truly great research worker needs only three pieces of equipment -- a pencil, a piece of paper, and a brain. But they quote this maxim more often at academic banquets than at budget hearings.
Scott's First Law:
No matter what goes wrong, it will probably look right.
Scott's Second Law:
When an error has been detected and corrected, it will be found to have been correct in the first place.
Corollary: After the correction has been found in error, it will be impossible to fit the original quantity back into the equation.
Skinner's Constant (Flannegan's Finagling Factor):
That quantity which, when multiplied by, divided into, added to, or subtracted from the answer you got, gives you the answer you should have gotten.
A theory is better than an explanation.
Wyszowski's First Law:
No experiment is reproducible.
Young's Handy Guide to the Modern Sciences:
If it is green or it wiggles -- it is Biology.
If it stinks -- it is Chemistry.
If it doesn't work -- it is Physics.
Other laws and principles