A little Christmas gift …

I am awakening this blog out of hiatus to post this story, which I received from a friend via Facebook. You might have already seen it, but if not, then please regard it as my little Christmas gift to you all.

The story concerns a “bonus” question in an Arizona University mid-term Chemistry exam. The answer given by one student was so unorthodox that the professor evidently shared it with some colleagues, and then it hit the internet.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas – and thank you for being a part of this wonderful/crazy/loving PGS blog…

Here’s my little gift to you –

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.’” 

This student received an A+.

24 thoughts on “A little Christmas gift …

  1. Bill,

    Happy Holidays to you and Jen!

    This was great, I have seen it before – maybe since the University of Arizona is right here in the town where I live.

    Happy Holidays to the entire PGS family!! I will raise my glass in a toast to all of us 🙂



  2. Hi Bill and PGS family Blessings of the Season. Bill check your P.O. Box when you have time.

    Hugs to you all Ingrid


    • Dear Ingrid –

      sitting here in 35C heat, I can’t imagine what it’s like where you are, in the snow!!

      But it’s been a pleasure getting to know you this year, and I look forward to more next year!!

      big hug mate, Bill

      (and yes, I’ll check the PO Box what are you doing??? Tea????)


  3. Of course it would take a special story for the master to reopen the blog. Well, I guess this is special, sorta. Never a dull moment. 🙂

    Happy holidays to the lot of you.



    • Hey Steve –

      I just thought it was a cracker of a story –

      Hope you have a wonderful Christmas – and looking forward to April, and finally meeting you!!

      Take care mate, Bill


  4. Thats a hooly Dooly of a tale, Have a great holiday! xo cheers from Kathryn and Michael.
    Also just saw the movie Philomene, with Judy Dench, I thought it was great! go see if you get the chance.


  5. Great to open my email and see your blog ! What a great unexpected gift. Great tale each time I’ve seen it! Happy, happy Holidays and a wonderful new year.

    Love to you all,




    • Thanks Jill –

      Jen and I wish you all the best for Christmas, and hope that this next year is a terrific one for you.

      And I hope we get to meet soon too!!



  6. I’ve missed you, Bill. I looked forward to reading your blog every day with my morning coffee.
    I hope your time away will renew your spirit and you’ll be back on line in the new year.
    I wish you and Jen a Merry Christmas and I hope to see you in Santiago on April 20.


    • Dear Jill – it would be great to see you in Santiago!

      Best wishes to you too for Christmas and the New Year – and I look forward to getting back to blogging come April, so you can have your morning coffee with something outrageous to read!




  7. I saw this on Facebook this morning. Enjoyed it the second time even more. Merry Christmas to you and Jen. I wish you both a healthy, happy and safe 2014!! Glad to read all the comments from the blog mates. I have REALLY been missing you all. Happy holidays everyone! Julie


  8. Thanks for the story and the season greetings, Bill,. To every Psg pilgrims and future pilgrims BONNE ANNEE from France, Buen Camino 2014 and do not forget the Champagne and the fois gras. See you in April


  9. Hey Bill

    Good joke. However I was looking out for the mention of a dwarf!

    all the best from Julie and me. Talk in a few minutes.



  10. Be you in snow or heat (it was 40C when I left Melbourne this morning to come back to Sydney!) I wish you all a lovely time over the holidays; and thanks Bill for giving us something to cause a long and hard LOL!! 🙂


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