The following is an actual question given on a University of Washington
chemistry mid term.
The answer by one student was so “pro found” that the professor shared it
with colleagues, via the Internet, which is, of course, why we now have the
pleasure of enjoying it as well :
Bonus Question: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs
Most of the 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 today.
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.
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
2. 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.
If we accept the postulate given to me by Teresa 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 slept with her last night, then number two must be
true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic and has already frozen
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 Heaven, thereby proving the existence of a divine
being which explains why, last night, Teresa kept shouting “Oh my God.”
THIS STUDENT RECEIVED AN A+