Critical Error 9 Not Accounting for Murphy’s Law
The legend goes that a new physics professor at a Midwestern school wanted to impress the undergraduates with his teaching. 2 In his fi rst semester, he requested to teach one of the large sections of freshman physics. Held in a huge lecture hall, each class period consisted of a lecture about a major topic and then a demonstration of a principle associated with that topic. For the class period that discussed motion in a plane, the new professor refused to use the six-foot air table that everyone else used. Instead, he had the technicians build him something twice as large. Likewise, for the class period on Newton’s laws, he refused to use the tabletop spring balance that everyone else chose; he had the technicians build him something much larger.