Learning outcomes of the course unit
The course has been designed to provide an introductory basis for other major
degree fields, as well as the physical phenomenology on which they are based or
which they make frequent use of. The course will also provide the conceptual basis
for understanding a number of major technologies that are used with increasing
frequency, such as: centrifuges, endoscopes, microscopes, transducers for
ultrasound equipment, laser systems, radiology equipment and NMR, radiation
detectors, etc. As its final, but perhaps most important, goal, the course has been
designed to stimulate students to become more familiar with certain common
concepts, but which are not always sufficiently explained in previous study, such as:
mechanical action between bodies in contact, exertion and energy in action,
dynamic aspects resulting from elastic force and impact, friction and thermal and
thermodynamic aspects, static and dynamic properties of gaseous and liquid fluids,
light and its manifestations, including in relation to the structure of the eye and its
physical defects; fundamentals of electrical, magnetic and nuclear phenomena, the
laws that govern potential and current; electromagnetic and nuclear radiation,
perturbations induced in means passed through and aspects of detection and
Course contents summary
Fundamental Laws of Dynamics
Vectors and scalars. Units, dimensions. Velocity and acceleration. Newton's laws.
Newton's law of gravitation. Acceleration of gravity. Difference between mass and
weight. Work, power and energy. Types of energy: thermal, chemical, potential,
kinetic, nuclear. Energy conservation law. Friction. Static and dynamic friction.
Force and moment of a force. Centre of gravity, barycentre. Equilibrium state of a
rigid body. Levers and applications to the human body. Structure of solids. Elastic
properties of a body, Young's modulus. Elastic behaviour of blood vessels and
Fluids and Fluid Dynamics
Pressure, Stevino’s law. Pascal’s law. Archimede's principle. Torricelli barometer.
Flow rate. Characteristics of an ideal fluid. Bernoulli's theorem. Applications of
Bernoulli's theorem to blood circulation. Real fluids. Laminar flow. Turbulent flow.
Reynolds number. Blood pressure measurement. Surface tension and capillarity.
Waves, Optics, Electrostatics, Electricity, Magnetism and Radiations.
Vibrations: harmonic, damped, forced motions, and resonance. Characteristics of
waves, the wave equation, superposition and interference of waves, stationary
waves. Sound waves, the ear and hearing, interference of sound, beats.
Ultrasound. Doppler effect. The Doppler echo in diagnostics: an application of the
Electricity and Magnetism:
Electric charge and Coulomb's law - Dielectric constant - The electric field - Electric
work and electrostatic potential - Volt - Dipolar field and potential - The electric
double layer - Eletctrocardiogram (dipolar aspects) - Gauss' theorem e its basic
applications - Faraday shield - Electrostatic induction and dielectric polarization -
Capacitance and capacitors - Capacitors combined in series and parallel - Current
intensity and current density - Ohm's law and resistance - Resistors combined in
series e parallel - Electromotive force - Kirchhoff's laws - Thermic effect of a current
- Electric conduction in liquids - Passage of the current in the human body -
Electronic structure of insulators, conductors and semiconductors (short account) -
Magnetic field and forces on currents and magnets - Biot/Savart law - Magnetic
permeability - Circulation of B and Ampère's theorem - Solenoid - Electromagnetic
induction and Faraday's and Lenz's laws - The autoinduction coefficient L -
Alternate tension and current - Impedance of a circuit anddissipated AC power -
Electromagnetic waves - Photoelectric effect and photons - Thermoionic emission
Reflection and refraction laws and dispersion of the light - Total reflection and
optical fiber - The endoscope (short account ) - Elements of spectral analysis -
Optical systems, focal points, and dioptric power - Thin lenses and mirrors, and
graphic construction of the images - Compound microscope - Resolution limit -
Optical aberrations - The eye as a dioptric system - Common dioptric defects of the
eye and correction by thin lenses - Wave properties of the light - Light diffraction
and Huyghens' principle - Diffraction grating - Polarization of the light and
polarimetry - Laser light: production, properties and applications in Medicine - The
electronic microscope (short account)
Atom, Nucleus, and Radiations:
Atomic structure - Bohr and Bohr/Sommerfeld models of the atom - Emission and
absorption of photons, andluminescence - X-rays: production and properties -
Mechanisms of X-ray absorption in the matter - Radiological imaging - Nucleus
structure and isotopes - Natural radioactivity: alpha, beta, and gamma radiation and
absorption properties - Radioactive decay and mean life.
Bersani, Bettati, Biagi, Capozzi, Feroci, Lepore, Mita, Ortalli, Roberti, Viglino, Vitturi:
Ed. Piccin Nuova Libraria (Padova).
Scannicchio: Fisica Biomedica,
Ed. EdiSES (Napoli).
Giambattista, McCarthy Richardson, Richardson:
Ed. McGraw-Hill (Milano).
Halliday et al:
Elementi di Fisica
Ed. Ambrosiana (Milano).
Assessment methods and criteria