Is Hell Endothermic or Exothermic?

A thermodynamics professor wrote a take home exam for his graduate students. It had one question: “Is hell exothermic or endothermic? Support your answer with proof.”

Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle’s Law or some variant. One student, however, wrote the following:

“First, we postulate that if souls exist, then they must have some mass. If they do, then a mole of souls can also have a mass. So, at what rate are souls moving into hell and at what rate are souls 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 souls entering hell, let’s 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 people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all people and 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 in volume in hell. Boyle’s Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in hell to stay the same, the ratio of the mass of souls and volume needs to stay constant.

1. So, 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, than the temperature and pressure will drop until hell freezes over.

So which is it? If we accept the postulate given me by Therese Banyan during our freshman year, and take into account the fact that I still have not succeeded in having sexual relations with her, then # 2 cannot be true, and hell is exothermic.”

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  1. The Misanthrope January 29, 2005 at 4:56 pm

    Thank you. You are a gentleman and a scholar.

  2. The Misanthrope January 29, 2005 at 3:12 am

    That is another version of an old joke. I have a question for you, will it be when hell freezes or when all hell breaks loose that you will provide a link to Toner Mishap? 🙂

  3. Jack's Shack January 28, 2005 at 11:00 pm

    Hi “Butch,”

    David’s Socal readers are legion. Hooah. Watch out for the rain, people lose their minds in this weather.

  4. Jim January 28, 2005 at 9:58 pm

    Quite clever!

    (And thank you for remembering that I am one of David’s Southern California readers! I’m pretty sure you made that correction?)


  5. Michael January 28, 2005 at 8:59 pm

    I like it.

    Take Care

  6. The Lioness January 28, 2005 at 8:41 pm

    ???!!! This can’t be for real! :DDDDDDD

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