Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Thanks to my cousin Debbie, in Buffalo, for passing this along.

At the bottom I've put a link to the Snopes entry that establishes that this is apocryphal, but it also says a few other things that are good for a further giggle.

The following is an actual question given on a University of Washington physics 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 two 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.'


Snopes says this story is apocryphal, but also offers some interesting information about it here.


Anonymous said...

I think hell hath broken loose already. This world is one effed up place these days.

Of course to believe this one must believe in hell and heaven as well.

I believe in nothing except that hell might just freeze over when the Tribe wins me a World Series. Then and only then might I actually believe in hell. Go Tribe.

Ezer K'negdo said...

I just laughed so hard I have tears in my eyes - thank you for this; exactly what I needed this time of year!