Learning outcomes of the course unit
The course of Applied Physics has been designed to convey knowledge and understanding of basic physics principles, providing an introductory basis for other major degree fields including Chemistry, Biology, Physiology, Biochemistry, etc., that rely on the physical phenomenology on make frequent use of it.
The course will also provide the conceptual basis for understanding a number of major technologies that with increasing frequency are used in medicine, such as: centrifuges, endoscopes, microscopes, transducers for
ultrasound equipment, laser systems, radiology equipment and NMR, radiation detectors, etc. In this sense, the module also aims to develop the students' attitude towards independent study and continuing education on the application of physical techniques to diagnosis and therapy in medicine.
As its final, but perhaps most important, goal, the course has been designed to stimulate students to become more familiar with certain common concepts, that 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 control.
Course contents summary
The course of Applied Physics will deal with the most important aspects of basic physics, from the definition of the main physical quantities and measure systems up to the more complex content that are the basis of diagnostic imaging and radiation therapy.
The course will cover the fundamental principles of mechanics, fluid dynamics, electromagnetism, thermology, waves and optics.
Applications and consequences on human body physiology and medicine will be stressed. In particular, deeper insights will be provided into biomechanics, blood circulation, the use of radiations in diagnosis and therapy.
Physical quantities. 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 bones.
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.
Electricity and Magnetism: electric charge. Coulomb's law. Electric field Electric potential Electric current: definition of resistance. DC (direct current) circuits. Ohm's laws. Serial and parallel resistors. Kirchhoff's law. Gauss' theorem. Flux of an electric field. Electrocardiogram.
Magnetic Field. Electromagnetic field. Motion of charges in a magnetic field. Biot-Savart law and Ampere's law. Force generated between current-carrying conductors. Magnetic Induction: Faraday's law and Lenz's law.
Radioactivity, law of radioactive decay, half-life. Electromagnetic spectrum. Photons as particles and waves. Production and applications of X rays. Principles of Radioptrotection.
A. Giambattista, B. McCarthy Richardson, R. Richardson "Fisica Generale. Principi e Applicazioni" Ed. McGraw-Hill
During classroom lectures, the topics contained in the program of the module will be illustrated and commented. Emphasis will be posed on the applications to biology and medicine of basic physics principles, with examples of how such principles can lead to quantitative predictions on physiological and pathological phenomena.
In selected cases, the demontration of basic physics principles will be illustrated, with the aim to introduce the students to the practice of logical thinking and experimental approach.
Assessment methods and criteria
The achievement of the objectives of the module will be assessed through a written examination, mainly consisting in open questions on the topics of the course. This will allow to ascertain the knowledge and the
understanding of both the theoretical bases and their consequences.
The written examination will include the resolution of problems, to assess the achievement of the ability to apply the acquired knowledge to a simulated biological or medical situation. All parts of the written exam will be equally weighted in the final evaluation.