# PHYSICS

## Learning outcomes of the course unit

The course aims to provide the student with fundamental knowledge of the laws of

physics and of the application of the laws to the study of the most common

phenomena in order to be able to describe and interpret investigation and

measurement techniques, which will then be used in research or working

laboratories. Particular attention will be placed on units, orders, appropriate use of

terms and development of ability to synthetize. The fundamental equations will be

explained and applied, with acknowledgement of the limits of their validity, to the

case of simple problems.

## Prerequisites

Attendance to the basis Mathematics course is recommended

## Course contents summary

Mechanics-Fluids-Thermodynamics-Electromagnetism-Optics - Modern Physics

## Course contents

Particle mechanics

Measurements - Units - Physical quantities - Vectors Operations on vectors - Motion

- Scalar and vector velocity - Acceleration - Motion in two and three dimensions -

Velocity and mean velocity - Acceleration and mean acceleration - Projectile motion

- Uniform circular motion - Relative motion - Newton's laws - Forces - Mass -

Applications of Newton's laws - Kinetic energy and work - Power - Potential energy -

Conservative forces - Work done by non-conservative forces - Conservation of

energy

System mechanics and rigid body mechanics

Particle systems - Centre of mass - Newton's second law for a particle system -

Momentum of a particle system - Conservation of momentum - - External forces

and internal energy changes - Collisions - Impulse and momentum - Elastic

collisions in one dimension - Inelastic collisions in one dimension - Rotation -

Rotational variables - Rotation with constant angular acceleration - Linear and

angular variables - Rotational kinetic energy - Moment of inertia - Moment of a force

- Work, power and work-kinetic energy theorem - Rolling - Angular momentum -

Conservation of angular momentum

Fluid mechanics - Waves in elastic media

Fluids - Density and pressure - Fluids at rest - Measurement of pressure - Pascal's

law - Archimedean principle - Ideal fluids in motion - Streamlines and continuity

equation - Bernoulli equation - Oscillations - Simple, damped and forced harmonic motion, Pendulums - Resonance - Waves -

Transverse and longitudinal waves - Wavelength and frequency - Speed of a

moving wave - Energy and power of a moving wave - The superposition principle -

Interference - Phase vectors - Stationary waves and resonance - Acoustic waves -

Speed of sound - Interference - Sound intensity and level - Sources of musical

sounds - Beats - Doppler effect

Gravitation

Newton's law of gravitation - Inertial mass and gravitational mass - Terrestrial

gravitation: the weight of bodies and the fall of bodies - Kepler's laws of planetary

motion - Gravitational potential energy - Artificial satellites and interplanetary probes

- Gravitation, astrophysics and cosmology

Heat and temperature

Thermal equilibrium and zeroth law of thermodynamics - Temperature and heat -

Temperature measurement and temperature scales - Thermal expansion - Heat

capacity and specific heat - Changes of state and latent heat - Propagation of heat

The first law of thermodynamics

Heat and work - Thermodynamic system - Internal energy - Thermodynamic

transformations - Reversible and irreversible processes - Graphical representation

of a transformation - Gas as a thermodynamic system - Work of pressure forces -

Molar specific heat at constant volume and at constant pressure - Ideal gas law -

Real gases and van der Waals equation - The first law of thermodynamics - Heat,

work and internal energy in the thermodynamic processes of the ideal gas:

isothermal, isobaric, isochoric and adiabatic.

The second law of thermodynamics

Operation of heat engines - Reversible engines and the Carnot cycle - Irreversibility

of thermal processes - The second law of thermodynamics in the Kelvin and

Clausius formulations - Efficiency of heat engines - Absolute thermodynamic

temperature and efficiency of the Carnot cycle - Refrigerators - The entropy function

- Entropy changes in reversible and irreversible thermodynamic processes - Entropy

and heat engines - Natural processes and energy degradation.

Kinetic theory of gases

Ideal gas model - Mean free path - Distribution of molecular velocities - Kineticmolecular

interpretation of the pressure and temperature of a gas - Internal energy

and equipartition principle - Molar specific heats of an ideal gas - Statistical

interpretation of the second law of thermodynamics - Entropy and probability:

disorder and information.

The electric field

Introduction to electrostatics - Electric charges - Conducting and insulating materials

- Coulomb's law - Electric force and electric field generated by monopoles - Lines of

force of an electric field - Field generated by charge pairs - Electric dipole -

Definition of flux of a vector field - Gauss' theorem - Equivalence: Coulomb's law -

Gauss' theorem - Examples for the application of Gauss' theorem - Electric potential

- Calculation of the potential starting from the electric field - Calculation of the

electric field starting from the electric potential - Equipotential surfaces - Capacitor

concept - Electrical capacity - Examples of capacitors - Polarization - Dielectrics and

dielectric constant - Gauss' law in the presence of dielectrics - Electric current -

Current density - Ohm's law - Microscopic explanation of Ohm's law -

Semiconductors and superconductors - Power - Joule effect - Electromotive force -

Mesh theorem - Series and parallel resistance - Node theorem - Charge and

discharge of an RC circuit

The magnetic field

Introduction to magnetism - Magnetic field - Magnetic force acting on a particle -

Lorentz force - Lines of force of a magnetic field - Magnetic field generated by current-carrying wires - Electric dipole-magnetic dipole analogy -

Magnetic force generated by current-carrying wires - Definition of the Ampere -

Field generated by a solenoid and by a toroid - Induction phenomenon - Faraday's

law - Lenz's law - Examples and applications - Inductance - Inductance calculation -

Examples and applications - RL circuits - Energy considerations - Circuits in

alternating current - Alternating current generator - Phasor method - RLC circuits -

Magnetic properties of matter - Atomic and nuclear magnetism - Paramagnetism -

Diamagnetism - Ferromagnetism - Hysteresis cycle

Electromagnetic waves and light

Maxwell's equations - EM wave propagation equation - EM wave propagation

velocity - EM wave spectrum - EM wave generation - EM wave energy - Poynting

vector - References to electric dipole emission - Definition of polarized wave -

Huygens' principle - Light ray approximation - Reflection and refraction - Dispersion

and prisms - Total reflection

Geometrical optics

Mirrors and spherical dioptres, thin lenses – Reference to lens aberrations - Centred

optical systems

Wave optics and polarization

Interference - Multiple slit and thin film interference - Michelson interferometer -

Fraunhofer diffraction - Diffraction grating - Dispersive power and resolving power of

optical devices - Polarization of light: polarization by reflection and by selective

absorption.

INTRODUCTION TO MODERN PHYSICS

## Recommended readings

Giancoli - FISICA - CEA

Walker - Fondamenti di Fisica - Zanichelli

## Teaching methods

Oral lesson

with many numerical examples

## Assessment methods and criteria

Joined oral written exam with intermediate written tests used for admission to the oral examination.