Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Is Hell exothermic or Endothermic ?

  1. Apr 5, 2007 #1
    Is Hell exothermic or Endothermic ??

    :rofl: The following is an actual question given on a University of Washington engineering mid-term. The answer was so "profound" that the Professor shared it with colleagues, and the sharing obviously hasn't ceased...

    Bonus Question: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or Endothermic (absorbs heat)?

    Most of the students wrote Proofs of their beliefs using Boyle's Law, (gas cools off 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 that souls are moving into Hell and the rate 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 us look at the different religions that exist in the world today. Some of these religions state that if you are not a member of their
    religion, you will go to Hell. Since there are 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 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. Of course, if Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over.

    So which is it?

    If we accept the postulate given to me by Teresa Banyan during my Freshman year,
    "...that it will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you.", and take into account the fact that I still have not succeeded in having sexual relations with her, then, #2 cannot be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic and will not freeze."

    This was the only student to receive an A.[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 5, 2007 #2
    Everyone here has heard this before.
  4. Apr 5, 2007 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Older than the hills...
  5. Apr 5, 2007 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    This incident happened at Kjemisk Institutt in Norway. Or so the saying is over here..
  6. Apr 5, 2007 #5
    Smarter than me, since you are seemingly discovering scientific well-known stories : have you read this story about the guy answering "How to measure the height of a building using a barometer ?". This one is much funnier, and they say also that it is actually true, involving a well-known physicist.
  7. Apr 5, 2007 #6


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    I think that's faulty logic.

    Nothing has been presented to suggest Theresa Banyan won't sleep with the student in the future (well, aside from the fact that we're talking about a Physics student - but that just makes the event unlikely, not impossible).

    The only thing the student has proven is that Hell hasn't frozen over, yet. The student doesn't deserve an A.

    Not unless either he or Theresa has suffered some horrible accident that would make any future encounters impossible. Considering this story is older than Super Glue, that's highly unlikely.

    Then again, the professor encountered the student on a regular basis and was probably better able to assess the student's chances than I.
  8. Apr 5, 2007 #7

    I have not,... If you have a link I would love to see it.

    The consensus is this story is older than electricity,.. I'm surprised that its new to me. Guess I've been busy reading too much Michio Kaku.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 5, 2007
  9. Apr 5, 2007 #8
  10. Apr 5, 2007 #9
    what about this richard davisson (worked on the manhattan project) quote:
    "There are no physicists in the hottest parts of Hell, because the existence of a 'hottest part' implies a temperature difference, and any marginally competent physicist would immediately use this to run a heat engine and make some other part of Hell comfortably cool. This is obviously impossible."
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook