# Thread: The Physics of Hell

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## The Physics of Hell

A funny story I dug up again recently (supposedly true):

A thermodynamics professor had written a take home exam for his graduate students. It had one question: "Is hell exothermic or endothermic? Support your answer with a 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 that 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, lets 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, 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 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.

So, 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.

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If I remember correctly the student that wrote that was the onlyone who got an A for it.

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Originally posted by Teh_Winnar
If I remember correctly the student that wrote that was the onlyone who got an A for it.
http://www.snopes.com/college/exam/hell.asp

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Originally posted by blue27
http://www.snopes.com/college/exam/hell.asp
Thanks, blue27. It makes more sense for this to be a myth than a question on an actual physics test. Well, maybe they could do that in a Physics for Non-Science Majors course, but not in a graduate physics course at a real college.

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It is fair to make that a bonus question just for a trivial amount of points.

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Good to see the urban legend thing on it. I think it's funny anyway you look at it.

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I think most Christians today believe that hell itself is a state (at least most I know and have talked to about the subject), not a physical place where your soul ends up for all eternity. There are however still some fundamentalists that believe this, and some other religions which preach the actual physical existence of such a place. I find it highly unlikely and I personally believe that if hell is just a state, it means one's seperation from the Creator. I could be wrong, but that's just my opinion.

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If a hell did exist, I would think it would be a state in which your soul did not desire to be in.. more-so a self proclaimed state of "bad". I think all "things" desire to be good, even if they do bad things.

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Since hell is a magical, mystical place, first you have to create a theology of what it is and does, and then try to make up how physics applies. It could be a nice exercise for a Physics-For-Non-Science-Majors course. The whole problem of hell maintaining itself for eternity means that you have to have magic energy sustaining it. It's exothermic if the magic energy comes from within hell, and it's endothermic if it comes from outside.

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I've read a different joke of this....well...it was definetly funnier :p

well, i cant exactly find the joke right now, but if i did find it it'd be funny !

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On thinking it through a little further, if physics is the science of how the universe works, this probably is a useful exercise for physics graduate students. They've spent years learning how to calculate the transfer of energy from everywhere to everywhere. Soon their careers will depend on getting research grants from people who don't understand any of it. It's time to learn how to sling the b.s., or they'll be slinging hamburgers.

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Originally posted by varg
I think most Christians today believe that hell itself is a state (at least most I know and have talked to about the subject), not a physical place where your soul ends up for all eternity. There are however still some fundamentalists that believe this, and some other religions which preach the actual physical existence of such a place. I find it highly unlikely and I personally believe that if hell is just a state, it means one's seperation from the Creator. I could be wrong, but that's just my opinion.
Considering Christianity's belief that there is a being up in the heavens -- who knows where -- looking out and watching over you, what basis do you have to say it is "highly unlikely" that there is a physical place in which all humans "bad" are sent?

Where do dogs and cats and other animals go when they die? Do they not have a special place after death? What makes humans so special, except the fact that we had the smarts to come up with Christianity and write about it? Does God value other animals as well, and does he send them up to "Heaven" and "Hell" after they die? Or do they simply rot into the earth, and that's it?

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Well coming from the Jewish understanding of hell, that's exactly what it is. Since Judaism is Christianity's source.... you get the idea. The Catholic Church also teaches hell is just a state I believe (don't quote me though).

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Originally posted by varg
Well coming from the Jewish understanding of hell, that's exactly what it is. Since Judaism is Christianity's source.... you get the idea. The Catholic Church also teaches hell is just a state I believe (don't quote me though).
Sorry, excuse my confusion. What is exactly what "it" is? I mentioned a few questions and possibilities, so I'm not quite sure as to which one you're addressing.

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Originally posted by SniperDevil
Sorry, excuse my confusion. What is exactly what "it" is? I mentioned a few questions and possibilities, so I'm not quite sure as to which one you're addressing.
"it" = "hell". Jews believe hell is just a state as do Catholics.

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Originally posted by varg
"it" = "hell". Jews believe hell is just a state as do Catholics.
Ah, okay. I thought you were addressing one of my questions.

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On another note, if the Creator is omnipotent/omnipresent he wouldn't be bound to physics would he? If so, why would hell (also outside our normal phsyics) need to be bound to the rules of physics (if it physically existed)?

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bash.org? (extra characters)

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HEAVEN IS HOTTER THAN HELL

(H/E)4 = 50
where E is the absolute temperature of the earth, 300°K (273+27). This gives H the absolute temperature of heaven, as 798° absolute (525°C).

The exact temperature of hell cannot be computed but it must be less than 444.6°C, the temperature at which brimstone or sulfur changes from a liquid to a gas. Revelations 21:8: But the fearful and unbelieving... shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone." A lake of molten brimstone [sulfur] means that its temperature must be at or below the boiling point, which is 444.6°C. (Above that point, it would be a vapor, not a lake.)

We have then, temperature of heaven, 525°C (977°F). Temperature of hell, less than 445°F). Therefore heaven is hotter than hell.

and a rebutal:..

http://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/hell.htm

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Putting aside hypotheses that the pressure in hell could be higher than 1 ATM, it could be that the <445°F lake of sulfur is the coolest part of hell. The flames of burning sulfur above the surface would be hotter.

Even if heaven has an outer surface at 977°F, that doesn't rule out the hypothesis that it could have a cooler interior.

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## Re: The Physics of Hell

Originally posted by DevilDog
Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle's Law or some variant. One student, however wrote the following:
Boyles law deals with Pressure and Volume being inversely related. I don't see how that would have anything to do with temperature...
Last edited by Sheps; 04-20-2005 at 11:55 PM.

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