Let ε < 0.

05.19.09

The thermodynamics of Hell

Filed under: Science humor — Travis @

A thermodynamics professor had written a take home exam for his graduate
students. It had one question:

Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or is it endothermic (absorbs heat)? Support your answer with proof.

Many of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle’s Law (gas cools off when it expands and heats up when it is compressed). One student however gave the following answer:

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 they are leaving. I think we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave (that is, after all, the point of Hell). 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 if you if you are not a member of there religion, you will go to Hell. Since there are more than one religion out there that has this belief, we can now assume all souls go to Hell. With birth and death rate as they are, we can now expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially.

Now, we look at the rate of change in 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 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 that of the souls entering 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 Ms. Theresa Banyan during my Freshman year, “That will be a cold night in Hell before I go out with you,” and take into account the fact that I still have not succeeded in getting her to go out with me, then #2 can not be true. So, Hell is exothermic.

There was only one ‘A’ given on the exam.

Clearly, some people are better at taking tests than I. Also along these lines, you might consider the thermodynamics of Heaven.

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