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The following is an actual question given on a University of Arizona chemistry midterm, and an actual answer turned in by a student.

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 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 at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate at which they are leaving, which is unlikely. 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 two 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."


Tecolote 7 Aug 23

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if I were an American, I would be embarrassed to be in your educational system. For, this is not a chemistry question, but a Physics question.


I have always loved this one!!!

Yup, I read it so many times over the years.


This another great vid from darkmater2525: is hell possible.


Great bit of creative writing. Too bad it's not true, would've cracked up that class.


Should have been given an honorary PhD.


And now we know where Egon went to school.


Imaginative and funny. 🙂

Betty Level 7 Aug 24, 2018

I really hope that is a true story

Nope, I have read it many times over the years in some forum, or another.

@Slava3 Been hearing this one since the 90's ... Snopes rated it as "Legend." Still funny, though ... just apocryphal is all.

Well..dang it


I never expected any student to be marked well for thinking outside the box.


A great answer that had me laughing the whole time.


Bravo to whoever wrote that.


Freakin' awesome!!




Very well done. ?


Love it.


Only in the USA would a science test ask for theories about the nature of Hell.
Perhaps next year he can write a thesis on the chemical elements and conditions needed to produce A1 quality ectoplasm




I hope they got extra credit for that one.


Oh, this one AGAIN. See: Snopes. Rating: Legend



Outstanding. I enjoy this types of essays. As a TA we evaluated entrance essays and I still laugh remembering one near 30 years later. Thanks for sharing.


That is a great answer 🙂


A good dose of entropy could be used


Lol that was great xD

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