The following is an urban legend, but worth re-telling ...
A question was 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, or course, why we now have the
pleasure of enjoying it as well.
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 expand and heats up when it is compressed) or some
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 that
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, lets 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
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. That gives us two possibilities:
- 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: exothermic .
- 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: endothermic.
So which is it?
Ending #1: If we accept the postulate given to me by Ms. 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.
Ending #2: If we accept the postulate given to me by Ms. 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 slept with her last night, then number two must be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is endothermic 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" given.