Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Geek Joke

One of the interesting thing about working with scientists is seeing how they view the world.  What they think is interesting or funny.  One of my guys told me about a dinner party he went to where the topic of discussion was a rousing discussion about 27th president of the United States.  WOW....I had to stop my self from laughing out load....and most of you know how loud I laugh.  Not that they had a discussion about the 27th president...or any president....but that the discussion was "rousing".  I have to remind myself that I work with the cream of the crop when it comes to geeks.

So I got this joke today in my e-mail.  A little off-color...just a little...but funny...and truly a geek joke.  Not sure I believe it is an actual essay as I've seen stuff like this before.

Hell Explained By A Chemistry Student:

The following is an actual question given on a Penn State University chemistry mid-term, 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. There fore, 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.'



Katie Hanrahan said...

I've seen this one before - several years ago. Don't know if it's actually a response to an exam but it's funny as hell!

Wendy said...

One smart student! I like his analogy and comparison. Not all of us geeks are bad. I can't help it if my eyes glaze over when I enter an apple computer store!

Anonymous said...

Yes, Gail, it's just a "good joke" but it's also one that has a much longer history than many of the ones that circulate.

You can read some about it at Snopes.com (a great place for checking on the truth of any "true stories" you encounter online), at this link:


That page contains a link to information on much, much geekier early versions (i.e., less "intimate" and with more "numbers"!). A geek who likes this version might be inclined to say this little tale has evolved well...