THERMODYNAMICS OF HELL
The following is an actual question given on a University of Washington 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
Most 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) 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 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. 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 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
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 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.
The student received the only "A" given.
Thermodynamics of Hell