Final Exam Question
Final Exam Question
Date: Tue, 17 Mar 1998 14:35:17 -0500
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 in 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 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 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 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 than the increase of souls in
hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until hell freezes
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.