Dr. Schlambaugh, a senior lecturer at the Chemical Engineering
Department,University of Oklahoma, is known for posing questions on
final exams like: "Why do airplanes fly?"
In May a few years ago, the "Momentum, Heat and Mass Transfer " exam
paper contained the question:
"Is Hell exothermic or endothermic? Support your answer with proof."
Most students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle's Law or
similar. One student, however, wrote the following:
First, we must postulate that if souls exist, they must have some mass.
If they do, then a mole of souls also must have a mass. So, at what rate
are souls moving into hell and at what rate are souls leaving? I think
we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it does not leave.
Therefore, no souls are leaving.
As for souls entering Hell, let's look at the different religions that
exist in the world today. Some religions say 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
the birth and death rates what they are, we can expect the number of
souls in Hell to increase exponentially. Now, we look at the rate of
change in the volume of 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 the souls and volume needs to stay constant.
[Answer 1] So, if Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at
which souls enter Hell, then the temperature in Hell will increase until
all Hell breaks loose.
[Answer 2] Of course, if Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the
increase in 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 Banyan
during freshman year) that "it'll be a cold day in Hell before I sleep
with you", and taking into account that I still have not succeeded in
having sexual relations with her, then [Answer 2] cannot be correct;
...... thus, Hell is exothermic.
The student got the only A.