Re: HUMOR: How hot is it in Hell?

From: William C. Archibald (
Date: Tue Jul 17 2001 - 19:55:34 MDT

Urban Legend:

At 08:02 PM 7/17/01 -0400, you wrote:
>How Hot Is It In Hell?
> (a true story)
>A thermodynamics professor had written a take home exam for his
>graduate students. It had one question: "Is Hell exothermic (gives
>off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)? Support your answer with a
>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 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 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 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 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 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). 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 freezes over.
> So which is it?
>If we accept the postulate given to me by Ms. Therese Banyan during my
>Freshman year, "That it will be a cold night 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 so
>Hell is exothermic.
> The student got the only A.

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