physics exam

duck (
Sat, 22 Feb 1997 14:28:39 -0500 (EST)


Physics Story
A true story. A thermodynamics professor had written a take home exam
for his graduate students. It had one question: "Is hell exothermic or
endothermic? Support your answer with a proof."

Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs
using Boyle's Law or some variant.

One student, however wrote the
following: First, we postulate that if souls exist, then they
must have some mass. If they do, then a mole of souls can also have a
mass. So, at what rate are souls moving into hell and at what rate are
souls 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 souls entering hell, lets 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 people do not belong to more
than one religion, we can project that all people and 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 in volume in 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 souls and volume
needs to stay constant. So, 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. Of course, if hell is
expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in hell, than the
temperature and pressure
will drop until hell freezes over.

It was not revealed what grade the student got.

***"Statisticians know that if you put a man's head in a sauna and his feet
in a deep freeze, he will feel pretty good - on the average."

- source unknown