化學系學生解釋的地獄〔附英版對照〕修正版

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這是流傳於中國討論區的美國趣聞。(由國內網民翻譯)
下面是華盛頓大學一次化學期中考試中的真實問題。一個學生的答案是如此的「見解深刻」以至於教授通過互聯網與同行們分享,所以我們也能得以領略一下其中的趣味。

獎勵題:地獄是exothermic(釋放熱量的)還是endothermic(吸收熱量的)?

大部分學生應用Boyle定律(氣體膨脹時變冷而被壓縮時變熱)或其變型來證明他們的看法。然而,有一個學生卻寫到:

首先,我們必須知道地獄的物質是怎樣隨時間變化的。所以我們必須知道靈魂進入地獄的變化率和離開地獄的變化率。我認為我們可以穩妥的假設當一個靈魂進入地獄後它就不再離開。因此,沒有靈魂在離開地獄。

至於有多少靈魂在進入地獄,讓我們來看一下現存於世的各種不同的宗教吧。決大部分宗教都聲稱如果你不是他們的成員,你就會下地獄。因為這樣的宗教不止一個而且人都不會歸屬於多於一種宗教,我們可以得出所有的靈魂都會下地獄。

考慮到出生率與死亡率,我們可以推斷出地獄中靈魂的增長是呈指數級的。

現在,我們來看一下地獄容積的變化率。因為Boyle定律指出為了保持地獄中溫度與壓力的衡定,地獄的容積不得不隨著靈魂的增加而成比例地擴張。

這樣會產生兩種可能:
  • 如果地獄擴張得比靈魂進入地獄的變化率慢,那麼地獄中溫度與壓力就會增長直到地獄破散。
  • 如果地獄擴張得比靈魂增長率快,那麼其溫度與壓力就會降低直到地獄凍結。
到底會出現何種可能呢?

如果我們接受塔麗莎在我大一時給我的假定,「每天都像是地獄中冰冷的一天直到我跟你睡上一覺〔《新春秋》讀者按:此句宜譯為『要我跟你上床,除非有天地獄結成冰』〕」,同時考慮到我是昨天晚上才跟她睡的覺這一事實,第二種可能必定為真,因此我敢肯定地獄是釋放熱量的並且早已經凍結了。這個理論的推論就是因為地獄早已凍結,所以它不再接收靈魂了,因此它已經滅絕了...只剩天堂了,從而也證明了神的存在,它解釋了為什麼昨天晚上塔麗莎一個勁地叫「噢我的上帝。」


這個學生得了一個A+。
上述下場到底有多少屬實?因為它流傳的英文版本至少有兩個。被牽涉的院校也各不相同。
Dr. Schambaugh, of the University of Oklahoma School〔奧克拉荷馬大學〕 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."

The following is supposedly an actual question given on a University of Washington chemistry mid-term. 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 off when it expands and heats up 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 that souls are moving into Hell and the rate they are leaving. I think that we can safely assume that once a soul goes 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. 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 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 as souls are added.

This gives two possibilities:
  • 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.
  • 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 Ms. Teresa Banyan 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 still have not succeeded in having sexual relations with her, then #2 cannot be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic, and will not freeze.

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 2 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."


The student received the only pass.

The student, Tim Graham, got the only A(+).
版本間最大差異是在答案尾段〔做過抑或沒做過〕。一撮人的玩笑被以訛傳訛,再翻譯為另一種語言,就變成另一群族類茶餘飯後的趣聞真相。

Illustrated by Lee Bermejo.

2008.03.05

相關閱讀:
Urban Legends Reference Pages: Endothermic or Exothermic?
〔中文化前於網路流傳與改寫的經過〕

10 留言:

撒旦 說...

「每天都像是地獄中冰冷的一天直到我跟你睡上一覺」 這句有點譯得不好罷?

應有"如果要我同你瞓﹐等地獄結咗冰先講啦。"嘅意思﹐來表示可能。

撒蛋 說...

上文應作"不可能"。

ll 說...

可解貼了張 "香港電視" 封面?又可解刪掉了?

xxx 說...

What if soul does not have mass?

匿名 說...

新春秋好似冇理科人架

.bwd. 說...

當我死㗎?! 據我所知, 至少我是理科人。

狂人 - Paul Sin 說...

Ha ha ha.. Me too, I studied science. "What if soul does not have mass?", brilliance! However, it does weigh 21 grams, doesn't it? ;)

.bwd. 說...

Paul, I always wonder if it does.

ll 說...

photons are massless, but also carry energy

匿名 說...

"The Dr. Schambaugh, of the University of Oklahoma School of Chemical Engineering, Final Exam question for May of 1997." claim cannot be right. I did my chemical engineering Yr2 class in 1995 and our thermodynamics lecturer photocopied this fun "exam" question to us. So, it must appear before 1995.