## December 8, 2004

### Is Hell exothermic?

I received this email and I thought is was very funny and interesting. Just in case a question like this appears on the chem final (I'm sure it won't though), you'll have an idea on how to respond.

Subject: Is Hell exothermic?
The following is supposedly an actual question given on a University of Washington chemistry mid-term. The answer by one student was so "profound" 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 heat)?

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.

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 and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over.

So which is it?

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 2 must be true, and thus I am sure 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 Heaven thereby proving the existence of a divine being which explains why, last night, Teresa kept shouting "Oh my God."

THIS STUDENT RECEIVED THE ONLY "A"

Hallie O'Connor

Posted by ocon0274 at December 8, 2004 6:37 PM | TrackBack

Wow, that was fantastic! I wish I was that quick with my wit! I agree with his postulation whole heartedly! I especially enjoyed how he wrapped Teresa into his theory. I imagine that this instructor was male. Do you think he gave Teresa any credit for the A? I'm still laughing and will email this to everyone I know it's so funny!

Posted by: Shari Lynne at December 9, 2004 12:52 AM

i thought that article was so genious that i made a forward out of it and sent it to all my friends! what a genious that guy was! and best of all hell, i guess???, doesnt really exist and therefore we are all going to heaven no matter what and that made my year!

Posted by: Ceci Wilson at December 13, 2004 9:27 PM

According to The Inferno by Dante, if you look into the 9th circle of Hell, it's actually a frozen pond. Therefore, the answer is neither because since it's frozen, it doesn't give off or absorb heat. If you want to get technical, it absorbs negative heat. I know this is only in a book but it's based really closely on Christianity. I suggest reading the book because it's a good story and if you believe it, can give answers to this blog.

Posted by: Jeff Regan at December 13, 2004 11:11 PM

I actually received this e-mail at the beginning of the school year and it said that a sophomore in college actually wrote that. Either way I think this kid has such a great way of looking at things. The wide range of context and knowledge that he brought into it, really made it witty.

Posted by: Casey at December 14, 2004 2:15 AM

I agree this was a very good article that makes the topic witty and created a new way of looking at Hell. I like the comment that if you look into the 9th circle of Hell, it's actually a frozen pond. Therefore, the answer is neither because since it's frozen, it doesn't give off or absorb heat. that is an interesting way of looking at the matter and really raises alot of questions in my mind as im sure it does in many of yours!

Posted by: Dan Kuhl at December 14, 2004 8:21 AM

Of course if we can have heavan on earth then we can have hell on earth. It may be that the heat from hell is seeping through to our physical world, leading to the real reason for global warming. Haha, we also see more road rage these days. I liked your post. It's very funny and well written. Thanks.

Posted by: John at December 14, 2004 3:03 PM

Um, Jews only spend a year, at the most, in hell. But I don't think that makes too big of an impact, not compared to the numbers of Muslims and Christians. Though maybe we're dealing with some Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle - black hole leakage shit here.

Posted by: joey at March 9, 2005 2:54 PM

While the "story" is witty and funny, it is not, as claimed, the result of an actual test or exam. The story appears on the net in several variations, claims several universities, instructors, and girl friends with varying endings. The origins of this story go back to the 1960s and 1970s, again, in several variations. What we have circulating on the web now is a composite, and most of the variations are funny.

Tyge

Posted by: Tyge at May 20, 2005 5:51 PM

Had the young student,read the bible,he would have known is error from the beginning...his problem is he assumes humans are flowing into hell at a certain rate...that part of his equation,is his stumbling block...no humans are pouring into hell...they first must be judged by God...Hell is after the judgment...those who die,are held....to be judged..I was amazed at all the hoopala over this students comments...it only shows,the academia seems to use bits and pieces of the bible to make claims...without talking it as a whole as it should be...can you imagine,leaving the sugar or eggs out of a cake baking contest?..There is no rate of humans pouring into hell today friends....sorry

Posted by: Majii at December 24, 2006 6:39 AM