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Interesting Physics Problem
Subject: An Interesting Question
The following is supposedly an actual question 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,
course, why we now have the pleasure of enjoying it as well.
Bonus Question: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 2 must be
true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic and has already frozen
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