Hell Exothermic Or Endothermic Essay

Probability: In another exam, a pupil was asked: “A coin is flipped and then a die is rolled, what is the probability of rolling an odd and then flipping a tails.” They replied, 0 per cent, because the coin was flipped first – an answer technically correct, but ignoring the theory of probability.

When hell freezes over: The question of whether hell is endothermic (absorbs heat) or exothermic (gives off heat) is one of the better known exam test legends. While most students answered with theories about Boyle’s law and gas cooling when it expands and heating when compressed, one student wrote an answer saying first they needed to determine whether the mass of Hell was increasing or decreasing.

He then concluded there were 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.”

Why? In another widely known rumour about a Philosophy exam, a student was said to receive top marks when answering the one word question ‘Why?’ with ‘Why not?’

Chair: Students in a Philosophy exam were also asked to use all their philosophical knowledge to prove why a chair, placed at the front of the room, didn’t exist. While many scribbled down different theories one student simply wrote ‘What chair?’

The question: Another pupil was also said to take a direct approach to an exam question – which asked 'Is this a question?' His reply was: 'If this is an answer.'

Do you have similar tales of witty exam answers. Please post themhere


Is hell exothermic or endothermic?

Dr. Schambaugh, of the University of Oklahoma School of Chemical Engineering, Final Exam question for May of 1997. Dr. Schambaugh is known for asking questions such as, "why do airplanes fly?" on his final exams. His one and only final exam question is May 1997 for his Momentum, Heat and Mass Transfer II class was: "Is hell exothermic or endothermic? Support your answer with 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 mass. If they do, then a mole of souls can also have 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 will 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 of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, then 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 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 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 the souls and volume needs to stay constant.

Two options exist:

  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 then 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 quote given to me by Theresa Manyan during 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 Option 2 cannot be true...

Thus hell is exothermic.

The student, Tim Graham, got the only A in the class.

School of Physics, University of Sydney

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