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A true story.
A thermodynamics professor had written a take home exam for his
graduate students. It had one question:
Is hell exothermic or endothermic? Support your answer with a proof.
Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle's Law or
some variant. One student, however wrote the following:
First, we postulate that if souls exist, then they must have some mass.
If they do, then a mole of souls can also have a mass. So, at what rate
are souls moving into hell and at what rate are souls 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 souls 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 people do not belong to more than one religion, we can
project that all people and 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 in volume in 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 souls and volume needs to stay
#1 So, 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 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
So which is it? If we accept the postulate given me by Therese Banyan
during Freshman year, and take into account the fact that I still have
not succeeded in having sexual relations with her, then #2 cannot be
true, and hell is exothermic.
The student got the only A.