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Hell: Hot or Cold?


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Is Hell Endothermic or Exothermic? (Rated PG)

Dr. Schlambaugh, a senior lecturer at the Chemical

Engineering Department,University of Oklahoma, is known for posing

questions on final exams like: "Why do airplanes fly?"

In May a few years ago, the "Momentum, Heat and Mass

Transfer " exam paper contained the question:

"Is Hell exothermic or endothermic? Support your answer with


Most students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle's

Law or similar. One student, however, wrote the following:

First, we must postulate that if souls exist, they must have

some mass. If they do, then a mole of souls also must have a mass. So,

at what rate are souls moving into hell and at what rate are souls

leaving? I think we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it does

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 religions say 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 the birth and death rates what they are, we can expect the

number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially.

Now, we look at the rate of change in the volume of 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 the souls and volume needs to stay constant.

[Answer 1] So, if Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at

which souls enter Hell, then the temperature in Hell will increase until

all Hell breaks loose.

[Answer 2] Of course, if Hell is expanding at a rate faster

than the increase in 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 freshman year) that "it'll be a cold day in Hell

before I sleep with you", and taking into account that I still have not

succeeded in having sexual relations with her, then [Answer 2] cannot be


...... thus, Hell is exothermic.

The student got the only A.

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