A Swinburne reader writes:
"This is forwarded from a graduate of the University of Oklahoma's Chemical
Engineering Department, citing one of Dr. Schlambaugh's final test questions for his final
exam of 1997. Schlambaugh is known for asking questions on his finals like: "Why do
In May 1997, the Momentum, Heat , and
Mass Transfer II final exam question 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, they must have mass. If they do, then a
mole of souls must also have 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 does 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 religions say 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 Hell. With the birth and deaths rates what they are, we can
expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially. Now, we look at the rate of
change in the volume of 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
[A1] So, if Hell is expanding at a rate slower than the rate at which souls enter Hell,
then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose.
[A2] Of course, if Hell is expanding at a faster rate 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 Theresa Banyan during freshman
year, that "It'll be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you," and taking
into account that I still have not succeeded in having sexual relations with her, then
[A2] cannot be true; thus, Hell is exothermic."
The student Tim Graham, got the only "A." Sadly, there is
no Dr. Schlambaugh at the University of Oklahoma or in the White Pages. But Professor
Robert L. Shambaugh does exist and he is in Chemical Engineering at U. O.