Learning outcomes of the course unit
The course aims at providing a basic understanding of physical processes and laws underlying the properties of matter. Laboratory experiments aim at providing some practical applications of the conceptual instruments highlighted in the class activity.
Basic knowledge (high school level) of algebra, trigonometry and differential calculus
Course contents summary
The course aims at providing:
the knowledge and understanding of the main principles of classical physics with focus on mechanics, thermodynamics, electricity and magnetism together with skills in solving simple problems
the methodologies needed to obtain quantitative data from simple experiments and to treat them using error theory.
Physical quantities, units, dimensions & Errors. Vector calculus: sum and difference of vectors, scalar product, vector .product,
Motion in one, two and three dimensions, Newton’s laws of motion, Friction, Circular motion.
Work, Energy & Power, Momentum, Collisions, Gravitation.
Simple Harmonic motion, Wave motion and Sound waves, Fluid mechanics.
Calorimetry, Heat Transfer, Kinetic theory of gases, Thermodynamics.
Electric Force, Field and Potential, Capacitors, Electric Current, Electric Circuits.
Magnetic Force and Field, Electromagnetic Induction, Alternating Currents.
Reflection at Plane and Spherical Surfaces, Refraction at Plane and Spherical Surfaces, Optical Instruments, Defects of Vision, Wave Nature of Light: diffraction and interference.
Introduction to error theory, error distribution: standard deviation & normal distribution, error propagation, linear regression & non-linear approximations, Chi-squared test.
Use of "Origin" software for data analysis.
Mechanics: simple pendulum.
Thermodynamics: measure of the Joule equivalent.
Electromagnetism: Ohm’s law, RC circuit.
Mechanics, thermodynamics, electricity and magnetism:
R. A. Serway, J. W. Jewett Jr. - Principi di Fisica – EdiSES
J.R. Gordon, R.V. McGrew, R. A. Serway, W. Jewett Jr. - Esercizi di Fisica Guida ragionata alla soluzione - EdiSES
J.S. Walker - Fondamenti di Fisica – Pearson Italia.
D.C. Giancoli - Fisica. Principi e applicazioni – CEA
P.R. Kesten, D.L. Tauck - Fondamenti di Fisica - Zanichelli
Error theory and data treatment procedures:
J.R. Taylor - Introduzione all'analisi degli errori - Zanichelli
Class exercises coordinated by an instructor, if possible, also laboratory activity carried out in small groups (three-five students)
Assessment methods and criteria
The exam is divided into:
- An evaluation of the laboratory activity (weight 20%). These evaluations are communicated to the students, at the end of the course, through electronic platform.
- A written test (weight 80%).
- A score of at least 18/30 in the written test is required,in order to pass the exam.
The written test includes: a part of very simple multiple choice exercises, designed to verify the knowledge of the basic concepts; a part of relatively more complex exercises, designed to verify the ability to use and process these basic concepts; a part of general questions that allow the student to present a course topic in complete freedom. The written vote results from an average weighed on the three types of questions.
- Only in exceptional cases, an additional oral examination is possible.
During the tests students can only use a calculator, not connected to the Internet.
The results of the tests will be announced on electronic platform.
Students enrolled in the first year can take part in three partial tests during the course (topics: Mechanics, Thermodynamics, Electromagnetism). An overall average score of not less than 18/30 (with at most one insufficient grade but not less than 15/30) replaces the final written exam.Online registration is always required through the electronic platform.
Minimal contents needed to pass the exam.
- Newton’s laws and of conservation laws (momentum and energy) and capability of applying them in solving simple dynamical problems;
- Knowledge of zero principle , first and second principle of thermodynamics as well as of main state functions (internal energy, enthalpy and entropy) and capability of applying them in solving simple problems of equilibrium thermodynamics.
- Knowledge of Maxwell equations, of Ohm and Kirkhoff laws and capability of applying them in solving simple problems of electromagnetism.