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Hell - Exothermic or Endothermic?


The Missing Link
Feb 22, 2011
Fighting Alongside Link
Hello guys,
It feels like it's been forever since I've made a thread on here. Anyway, I'm not sure if this is where this belongs, but alas, I have a question I'd like to ask you all. But first, let's start with a little thing called "Hell Explained by a Chemistry Student," which you can read in the Spoiler below:

The following is an actual question given on a University of Washington chemistry mid-term. Hat top to Annabelle Mark who is a constant source of this type of material

Bonus Question: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)?

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

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. 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.'


So, the question posed is: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)? Assuming you read the Spoiler above, the student answered in a very creative, but also semi-knowledgeable way. So my question to you all is: Assuming you believe Hell exists, do you agree with the student? Also, what do you think Hell is: Exo- or Endothermic? Post your thoughts below! Thanks!



Mad haters lmao
May 26, 2010
Hylian Champion
I remember listening to this last year in Chemistry. Fascinating response, actually, but I feel there's a glaring hole: no human has ever been to Hell. Who is to say this "Hell" abides by the physics of the plane of existence we've come to call "the Universe"? Or more specifically, this one body called "Earth"? If we were to assume that Hell functions identically to Earth, bar the never ending flames of disaster and despair, I think it's safe to say that the student's response in your spoiler tags would be THE answer. However, I've my doubts that Hell bows to Earthly Physics...

The Joker

<span style="text-shadow:2px 2px 4px Purpl
Nov 24, 2011
At Amusement Mile
The inner workings of Hell (If it exists) could easily be one, both or neither depending of the cosmic structure of the realm.

I can see it being a realm that creates heat, though not being a nessasary source of heat in the After world since heat is not really an evil thing. Warmth can be a very good thing. But never-the-less, the excessive heat would certainly be a painful realm and could generate heat.

It can also be a place that absorbs heat as well. Humans themselves are energy and its a place that already absorbs that. So it's very much a possibility that it can also absorb heat.

Being both can could also work, abosorbing heat and then in turn building more heat; adding fuel to the fire if you will.

As far as outside possibilities, it may not work in any of those ways. It could be inifinate and specific for each individual soul. If heat hurts you more, you will be affected by heat. If being cold effects you more, you will feel cold. And it would not just apply to tempratures either. Whatever sensation would currently ail you would begin to ail you.


Not all those who wander are lost...
Oct 8, 2011
40 lights off the Galactic Rim
I don't believe that Hell exists. It is merely an abstract location defined by monotheistic mythologies. There is absolutely no evidence for the existence of a of a Hell in real life, so I can't answer your question. You are asking a scientific question about something that has no relation to science.

Axle the Beast

The Second Coming
Site Staff
Nov 26, 2008

I don't believe in hell, but if hell exists it would not be physical in any traditional way (as it is a place that traps souls), and it would also have no particular relationship to heat; without a body, heat would not hurt you, meaning any heat would not be traditionally physical. Additionally different people have different tolerances to different things, so I do not believe there would be any particular association with heat or fire at all... merely whatever is most harmful or painful for the given situation.

Sir Quaffler

May we meet again
Haha, total A+ to that student!

As for the question at hand, scientific methods are unequipped to handle metaphysical matters such as this, as by their very nature they transcend the physical laws. But what I think people tend to forget is that the main property of Hell isn't that it's a lake of fire or anything like that, it's that it's in a realm totally separate from God. Hell by definition is eternal separation from Him; whether it's eternally on fire, frozen over, or just completely dark is interesting to think about but ultimately pointless.

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