Learning outcomes of the course unit
The course gives, with a simplified approach, some basic concepts which are necessary to some of the following biology and chemistry courses. In particular, the contents of the present course offer a physical description of the mechanisms underlying many processes relevant for chemistry and biology.
At the end of the course, the student is expected to be able to:
Knowledge and understanding
- know and understand the basic concepts of Classical Physics
- identify and exemplify the main laws of Classical Physics, Dynamics, Thermodynamics, Electromagnetism and conservation principles
- explain the meaning of the introduced physical quantities
- remember the fundamental units
- compare physical systems, underlining similarities and differences
- explain the origin of the depicted phenomena on the basis of the outlined physical models
Applying knowledge and understanding
- apply the known physical laws in order to describe a system
- apply the known physical laws in order to set up symbolically simple problems
- do the dimensional analysis
- apply the knowledge to make clear the relationship between physical quantities
- do simple exercises and their numerical calculations
- explain the data of a problem
- analyze the definitions
- evaluate critically the validity limits of the developed models
- identify the correct expression of the outlined physical laws
- attribute to each phenomenon the right framework of physical laws
Ability to communicate
- communicate the physical laws of Mechanics, Thermodynamics, Electromagnetism in a clear, synthetic and effective manner.
- study independently
- relate different topics introduced in the course to concepts acquired in other courses (Chemistry, Maths, Biology)
- valuate the own level of comprehension trying to solve problems similar but not identical to the ones faced in class
- read non only elementary but also higher level texts of Physics with a reasonable grade of autonomy
- change the own theoretical framework in front of simple problems which are not immediately solvable
Basics of arithmetic, algebra and calculus
Course contents summary
Physical quantities and Units. Vectors and scalars. Operations with vectors. Dimensional analysis and order of magnitude. Measurements and errors.
Physical quantities and Units. Vectors and scalars. Operations with vectors. Space-time diagram. Position, velocity, acceleration. Newton’s laws. Fundamental interactions. Work. Work-kinetic energy theorem. Potential energy. Conservation of energy. Equilibrium. Rotary motion. Kinetic energy of a rotating body. Torque.
Stevino’s law. Archimede’s law. Continuity equation. Bernoulli’s theorem. Viscosity. Laminar and turbulent flow. Stoke’s law. Surface tension. Capillaries and Laplace law.
Temperature scales. Kinetic theory of gases. Equipartition of energy. Internal energy. Specific heat. Latent heat and phase transitions. Work and heat. First law of thermodynamics. Some selected transformations. Heat propagation. Heat engines. Reversible and irreversible transformations. Entropy. Second law of thermodynamics. Carnot’s cycle.
Electric charge. Insulators and conductors. Induction and polarization. Coulomb’s law. Electric field. Voltage. Capacity. Capacitors and resistors. Ohm’s and Joule’s laws. Magnetic field. Lorentz force. Ampère’s law. Faraday’s law. Generalized Ampère’s law. Electromagnetic waves. Energy associated with the electromagnetic waves. Spectrum of electromagnetic waves.
Electromagnetic waves and electromagnetic spectrum. Polarization. Geometrical optics approximations. Light reflection, refraction and dispersion. Snell’s law. Total reflection. Plane mirrors. Lens and images forming. Relationship between conjugate points. Lenses’ builders equation.
Principi di Fisica
Fondamenti di Fisica
James S. Walker
Lessons where the dialogue and the discussion between teacher and students are strongly encouraged. In each lesson, the theory will be explained and then will be applied to problems and exercises. Two additional hours a week are devoted to solve exercises and problems within a project named “Progetto Idea” in order to help whom did not pass the entrance exam and in order to offer all students further opportunities of working out.
The slides used to support lessons will be uploaded at the end of the lessons on the Elly platform. To download the slides, you need to enroll in the online course.
Slides are considered an integral part of teaching material. It reminds non-attending students to check the available teaching material and information provided by the teacher through the Elly platform.
Assessment methods and criteria
The verification test of initial skills will also serve to establish the OFA (Additional Educational Obligations), i.e. the training debits of every student.
For students with OFA in Physics, a support course (Idea Project) is offered. Two trials will be given to evaluate the recovery of the educational debt. It is not possible to take the exam, the methods of which are described below, if not after having recovered the educational debt.
There will be a continuous ongoing but informal training evaluation by discussing with the classroom during the Lessons, or at the beginning of the next lesson to see how much the previously explained concepts have been understood.
There will be two mid-term evaluations. Each of them consists in a written, multiple choice test with 10 questions on theory and exercises (duration: 40 minutes, only a calculator is admitted). The written test is evaluated on a scale of 0-3. 0. To pass the exam, 6 questions should be correctly answered. Honors is given in the case of achieving the highest score.
A final grade will be proposed to the students if the comprehensive grade of the mid-term exams is above a specific threshold (average grade equal to or higher than 18/30) and they will be exonerated from the final written exam. Please note that the on-line application (on Esse3 platform) to the exam is MANDATORY. The result of each mid-term test is communicated over the week after the test on Esse3 platform.
The final exam is mandatory for the students having an insufficient grade of mid-term exams (lower than 18/30) or do not giving the intermediate exams. The final exam consists in a written, multiple choice test with 15 questions on theory and exercises (duration: 60 minutes, only a calculator is admitted). The written test is evaluated on a scale of 0-30. To pass the exam, 9 questions should be correctly answered. Honors is given in the case of achieving the highest score.
Please note that the on-line application (on Esse3 platform) to the exam is MANDATORY. The result of the final written test is communicated over the week after the test on Esse3 platform.
The student will be evaluated based on the achievement of the objectives previously specified in details. With a view to verifying whether such knowledge and level of competences have been achieved, the aim of the written examination is to evaluate the ability of the student to re-elaborate, reformulate such knowledge as well as his/her ability to apply the knowledge and skills gained to solve simple problems, identify and analyze the definitions of physical quantities and principles, compare, connect and examine in depth the knowledge gained.
The written final evaluation will be considered insufficient if the student is found lacking in any minimum knowledge of topics and specific language; if he/she doesn’t demonstrate skills in reaching an independent preparation, in analyzing the fundamental properties of physical systems and formulating independent critical judgements.
A final evaluation of sufficient (18-23/30) is determined if the student is able to show that he/she has mastered the basic notions and contents of the course and is sufficiently able to apply and express them, even simply, to discuss the fundamental properties of physical systems and formulate independent critical judgements and opinions.
An average mark (24-27/30) is awarded to the student who can demonstrate he/she possesses a more than sufficient (24-25/30) or good (26-27/30) command of the language and theoretical knowledge according to the above learning aims. The highest marks ( 28-30/30 and merit) are likewise awarded on the basis of a very good to excellent command of the language and theoretical knowledge according to the above learning aims.
On Friday (12:30-14:30 p.m) by appointment (Email) at the Department of Physics and Earth Sciences.