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, 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


One student, Charles, 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 2 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.”

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