Thermodynamics of hell

Thermodynamics of Hell
A 2005 T-shirt of the "Thermodynamics of Hell" by WamBot. [8]
In religious thermodynamics, thermodynamics of hell is the subject, whether considered real or humorous fun, of explaining the theory of hell, a hypothetical high-temperature place, in the center of the earth, where bad or evil people are said to be sent when they die, using modern thermodynamic arguments. To exemplify, the following excerpt comes from the 1999 article “When Hell Freezes Over” in the Journal of Chemical Education by American chemistry professor Ron DeLorenzo: [7]

“The Stefan–Boltzmann fourth-power radiation law predicts that heaven must be 977 °F if it were to radiate this much heat, and this makes heaven hotter than hell.”

There are many variations of the topic, including the questions: is heaven hotter than hell, is hell hotter than heaven, is hell exothermic or endothermic, what is the temperature of hell, discussion of the thermal saying “when hell freezes over”, among others, all answers requiring some type of logical proof. People have attempted proofs using Boyle's law, mechanical equivalent of heat (such as the friction creation argument picture adjacent), radiation laws or radiation thermodynamics (above quote), and so on.

The thermodynamics of hell, curiously, is a very popular Google search term, a top seven search related to thermodynamics. The question is along the same lines of explaining the "Thermodynamics of HotForWords" or the "Thermodynamics of HotorNot" and so on. [10] The subject of mixing thermodynamics together with religion, to note, dates back to at least the time of Maxwell's demon (1867).

Paul Foote ns
American physicist Paul Foote: author of 1920 article “The Temperature of Heaven and Hell”. [13]

Foote's 1920 article
The seed of the thermodynamics of hell joke originated in the circa 1920 article “The Temperature of Heaven and Hell” written by American physicist Paul Foote, a noted early soul theorists, noted expert in high temperature physics, which he published anonymously in a periodical of the Taylor Instrument Company, wherein he drew scientific deductions from descriptions of the states of various material substances as described in the Bible to conclude that Heaven was hotter than Hell. [12] The answer that Foote gave, supposedly, is: [11]

“The Stefan–Boltzmann fourth-power radiation law predicts that heaven must be 977 °F if it were to radiate this much heat, and this makes heaven hotter than hell.”

“First, we postulate that if souls exist, then they must have some mass. If they do, then a mole of souls can 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 will 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 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 increase until all hell breaks loose. Of course, 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.”

In the decades to follow, variations of Foote’s paper appeared, such as in the journal of Applied Optics (1972), among others, attributing the argument to an anonymous source. A copy of the original manuscript with Foote’s personal notations, however, has identifying him as the author of the article, as was found in his personal file after his death in 1971. [13] The Applied Optics article cited its source as ‘an unnamed environmental physicist several decades back’, as discussed in the followup Time magazine article “Science: A Hellish Heaven”. [14] It is said that a followup refutation article appeared in 1979, in the Journal of Irreproducible Results, arguing the converse situation to Foote's reasoning. [2]
Nether thermodynamics
Caption entitled "Nether Thermodynamics" from the 2005 book Go to Hell: A Heated History of the Underworld. [9]

University of Oklahoma | Chemical engineering
In May 1997, at the University of Oklahoma Chemical Engineering Department, as the story goes, professor Robert L. Shambaugh (although he denies the story), for the final question of his “Momentum, Heat, and Mass Transfer II” course, was said to have asked: “Is hell exothermic or endothermic? Support your answer with a proof.” [3] The story shortly thereafter was posted online, after which, as one writer notes, it "went around the Internet like greased lightning". A 1998 version of the solution uses the following quote as part of the proof:

“It will be a cold day in hell before I sleep with you.”
— Theresa Banyan (c.1990), comment to freshman Mick White

Shambaugh maintains he never asked the problem about hell, commenting that: “my guess is that one of my ex-students added fact to fantasy to create the problem about hell.”

One source argues that Tim Graham, a student of the University of Oklahoma, is the author of the story. [4]

Another source claims that it was given in a University of Washington chemistry mid-term. [5]

Modern views
See main: What happens when you die?; Cessation thermodynamics; Defunct theory of life, etc.
The subject of applying thermodynamics to the theory of hell, in attempts to validate or refute, in a modern human thermodynamic sense, which assumes that humans are molecules, through and through, pure and simple, regulated by the laws of chemical thermodynamics, just as are all molecules in chemical systems, immediately opens up a number of grand problems that require a near complete revolution in what constitutes the definition and surrounding understanding of being a human and existing. The person new to this subject will ask: does a human molecule have a soul? Owing to this question, many (even seasoned thermodynamicists) will deny they are a molecule.

Beyond this, of first notice, the assumed existence of a place one goes when death occurs, presupposes that people are alive. This, however, has been shown to be a defunct theory. [15] Technically, a person cannot be considered to be alive, any more so than a hydrogen atom can be considered to be alive. Secondly, hell theory implies the existence of both good and evil activity in the universe. There have been many attempts to explain morality in the context of thermodynamics, as well as the thermodynamics of evil, but the subject remains unpurified, at present, being that it is incredibly difficult to pick up a standard chemistry textbook and to separate good as compared to evil reactions in it just would need to be done to distinguish between good or evil human chemical reactions and good verses evil human molecules or human molecular behavior.
Hell (frozen) ns
One variation of the the joke (said to have been submitted by a student to an exam question on this topic) was the assertion that hell must be exothermic because a girl he’d been chasing had sworn it’d be a cold day in hell before she’d sleep with him, and he’d so far been unable to get to first base with her. [11]

These details aside, an example of the intricacies involved, conceptually wise in terms of pure hard science and equations, when even attempting to quantify the theory of the soul, or rather good or bad moral energy inherent in a person, in terms of modern science, is captured well in the 2005 review of American chemical engineer and physician Gerry Nahum’s 1978 “A Proposal for Testing the Energetics of Consciousness and its Physical Foundation”, in Mary Roach’s popular book Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife, in which he proposed to experimentally weight the departing soul thermodynamically at the point of death of people in laboratory using electromagnetic sensors based on a type of negative entropy theory and the mass-energy equivalence relation. [6]

In simple terms, there is no doubt that when people die (or rather stop moving permanently) that he or she does not go to either the interior of the earth nor to the clouds in the sky, as religious scriptures would claim. The acceptance of this, immediately opens up the the door to the evidence of needed modern day theory to reconcile these types of left-open questions in the modern sense of what happens to the fundamental particles constituting a person in the movement of the universe after one ceases to be and how does a person's total actions and movements, good or bad, impact the movement of the universe, or conversely, how does the movement of the universe instill or create good or bad human movements and there carry-through after a person dies (ceases to be), and how is this explained in terms of the first and second laws of thermodynamics. The topic is larger, to say the least.

A 2011 re-wright of the above, written by a Baby Rani, and edited by Lamar Stonecypher, speculates on whether or not the “inner energy” of a person, from a thermodynamic point of view, is a type of potential energy or internal energy, among other digression, and in conclusion comments: [16]

“The matter of using thermodynamics to the hypothesis of hell, in efforts to corroborate or controvert, in a modern human thermodynamic logic is a modern view. Thermodynamics presumes that humans are particles, complete, unadulterated, and trouble-free, synchronized by the laws of chemical thermodynamics similar to all other molecules in an established chemical system. This understanding straight away gives rise to a lot of issues which actually require a near total revolution to define and comprehend of constituting a human and living. Any new person in this subject will surely inquire as to whether a human molecule has a soul. Therefore modern theory will have to find answers to a lot of questions. For instance it has to be found out as to what takes place when the basic molecules making up a human being move about in the cosmos and later on stop moving meaning dead. Does an individual’s entire activities and progress be it good or bad, affect the motion of the universe. If so, how can this be clarified in terms of the first law of thermodynamics?”

A good deal of insight is found in this conclusion indeed.

1. (a) Author. (1972). "Article", Applied Optics, 11 A14.
(b) Author. (1979). "Article",
(b) Theological Thermodynamics – a Donald Simanek’s Page.
2. This paper appeared in The Journal of Irreproducible Results, Vol 25, No.4:17-18 Copyright © 1979 by The Journal of Irreproducible Results, Inc.
3. (a) Thermodynamics Humor – Tavi’s page, Department of Genetics, Yale.
(b) White, Mick. (1998). “A Cold Day in Hell”, Weed’s Humour Page, May 14.
4. The Thermodynamics of Hell – Writer’s Dreamtools, Best Internet Humor.
5. Thermodynamics of Hell – Scott’s Little Corner of the Web (Humor).
6. (a) Nahum, Gerard. (2010). “A Proposal for Testing the Energetics of Consciousness and its Physical Foundation”, Journal of Human Thermodynamics, 6: 1-25, March.
(b) Roach, Mary. (2005). Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife (Gerry Nahum, pgs. 97-106, 290, 297). W.W. Norton & Co.
7. DeLorenzo, Ron. (1999). “When Hell Freezes Over: An Approach to Develop Student Interest and Communication Skills.” J. Chem. educ. 76(4): 503-.
8. Thermodynamics of Hell Fire (T-shirt design) – by WamBot (2005) –
9. Crisafulli, Chuck and Thompson, Kyra. (2005). Go to Hell: A Heated History of the Underworld (thermodynamics, pgs. 144-45). Simon & Schuster.
10. Thims, Libb. (2009). "Thermodynamics of HotForWords", HumanChemistry101,
11. Hellfire: Endothermic or Exothermic? –
12. Foote, Paul D. (1920). “The Temperature of Heaven and Hell”, Taylor Instrument Company.
13. Astin, Allen V. (1979). “Paul Darwin Foote: 1888-1971”, National Academy of Sciences.
14. Anon. (1972). “Science: A Hellish Heaven”, Time, Mon, Aug 21.
15. Thims, Libb. (2009). “Letter: Life a Defunct Scientific Theory”, Journal of Human Thermodynamics, Vol. 5, pgs. 20-21.
16. Rani, Baby. (2011). “The 1st Law of Thermodynamics” (editor: Lamar Stonecypher),, May 31.

Further reading
● Harman, Tim. (1997). “Maxwell’s Demon and a Snowball’s Chance in Hell.” Phys. Educ. 32(1): 66-67.
● Dreyer, Wolfgang, Wolfgang, Muller H., and Weiss, Wolf. (2000). “Tales of Thermodynamics and Obscure Applications of the Second Law” (abstract). Continuum Mechanics and Thermodynamics, 12(3): 151-84.
● Clark, Dan. (2008). Soul Food, Volume 1 (Thermodynamics of Hell, pgs. 15-16). Cedar Fort.

External links
The Thermodynamics of Hell –
The Thermodynamics of Hell –

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