Tuesday, January 18, 2005


A co-worker supplied this to me and I have no other attribution. Regardless, this is funny.

Subject: Is Hell Exothermic or Endothermic?

The following is supposedly an actual question given on a University of Washington chemistry midterm. The answer by one student was so "profound" that the professor shared it with colleagues.

BONUS QUESTION: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)?

Most students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle's Law (gas cools when it expands and heats when it is compressed) or some variant.

One student, however, wrote the following:

First we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate at which they are leaving. I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving.

As for how many souls are entering Hell, let's look at the different religions that exist in the world. Most of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion you will go to Hell. Since there is more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to Hell.

With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially. Now we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle's Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand proportionately as souls are added.

This gives two possibilities:

  1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose.

  2. If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature adn pressure will drop until Hell freezes over.

So which is it? If we accept the postulate given me by Teresa during my freshman year that "It will be a cold ay in Hell before I sleep with you" . . . and take into account that I slept with her last night, then the second option must be true. Thus I am certain that Hell is exothermic and has already frozen over.

The corollary of this theory is that since Hell has frozen over, it follows that it is not accepting any more souls and is, therefore, extinct; leaving only Heaving, thereby proving the existence of a divine being which explains why last night Teresa kept shouting, "Oh my God!"

The student reportedly received the only "A".

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