Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita e dell'Ambiente - Guida degli insegnamenti (Syllabus)


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Seat Scienze
A.A. 2016/2017
Credits 8
Hours 64
Period 1^ semestre
Language ENG
U-gov code ST03 3S005*


Basic mathematical concepts: representation on the Cartesian space, first and second order equations and systems, exponential and logarithmic functions, elementary goniometry functions.

Development of the course

The course includes theoretical lectures (7 credits, 56 hours), classroom exercises (1 credit, 8 hours) e two laboratory practicals taken in small working groups (1 credit, 8 hours). Course attendance, although not mandatory, is strongly recommended. Attendance laboratory practicals is mandatory. For students who have been absent, recovery laboratory practicals will be planned.

Learning outcomes

The course enables students to acquire a basic knowledge of Physics and to identify, understand and quantitatively describe natural phenomena. The course focuses on the basic theoretical and experimental Physics (mechanics, fluid properties, thermodynamics, electric and magnetic properties), which is needed to provide a robust scientific basis for interdisciplinary studies.

Ability to apply the knowledge:
Students should be able to know and to derive the physical laws necessary to describe basic phenomena involving movement, energy, thermal properties, electricity and magnetism. They should be able to apply the proper laws for solving numerical exercises and clearly communicate the procedure followed for finding their solution. Students should show to have understood the scientific method that they have followed during the experimental measurements and the critical interpretation of the the physical phenomena they observed during laboratory practicals.

Soft skills:
The activity during the laboratory practicals, carried out in a working group, and the preparation of laboratory reports help to improve student's autonomy and communication skills.


Contents (classroom lectures, 7 CFU, 56 hours):
Scientific method. Base quantities, derived quantities and dimensions. Systems of units. Scalars and vectors. Vector operations. Position and displacement vectors. Average velocity and instantaneous velocity. Average acceleration and instantaneous acceleration. Straight uniform motion. Uniformly accelerated motion. Uniform circular motion. Non-uniform circular motion and angular velocity. Centripetal and tangential acceleration. Parabolic motion. Concept of force. Principle of inertia. Second law of dynamics. Third principle of dynamics. Weight force. Hooke’s Law. Composition of forces. Contact forces. Tension of an ideal chord. Gravitational force. Other forces in nature. Static and dynamic friction. Examples of motions in the presence of friction. Non-inertial reference frame and apparent forces. Many-particles systems. Center of mass. Position, velocity and acceleration of the center of mass. Internal and external forces. Momentum. Principle of conservation of momentum. Basic examples for the conservation of momentum. Impulsive forces. Work. Kinetic energy theorem. Power. Scalar and vector fields. Conservative field. Potential energy. Principle of conservation of mechanical energy. Dissipative forces. Gravitational and elastic potential energy. Elastic and inelastic collisions. Moment of force. Static equilibrium. Basic examples of static equilibrium. Angular momentum and inertia. Principle of conservation of the angular momentum. Density and viscosity of a fluid. Pressure and Pascal’s Principle. Stevin’s law. Archimedes’ principle. Fluids in stationary motion. Law of continuity. Bernoulli’s theorem. Real fluids. Laminar motion. Poiseille’s law. Thermal equilibrium. Temperature and temperature units. Thermodynamic coordinates. Thermodynamic states. Equation of state of perfect gases. Quasistatic process. Heat and work. Opposition pressure and work of expansion-compression. Specific heat at constant pressure and volume. Joule’s experiment. First law of thermodynamics. Isochoric, isobaric and isothermal transformations. Adiabatic reversible transformation. Poisson’s laws. Statements of the second law of thermodynamics. Carnot cycle. Efficiency of a Carnot cycle. Entropy. Inequality of Clausius. Free expansion of a gas. Entropy and disorder. Notable examples of thermodynamic cycles. Electric charge, electric field and electric potential. Gauss’s law. Charged particles in an electric field. Conductors and insulators. Capacitors. Electricity and Ohm’s law. Magnetic field and its properties. Charged particles in a magnetic field. 

Laboratory Practicals (1 CFU, 8 hours):
Elongation of a helical spring and verification of Hooke's law. Quantitative relationships among physical quantities that describe a uniformly accelerated motion. Forces on an inclined plane. Determining the density of liquids. Action of atmospheric pressure. Archimedes’ force as a function of the volume of a body.

Development of the examination

Methods for assessing learning outcomes:
The exam consists of a written test (or two partial tests) and an oral test. Students can not access the oral test without having passed the written test. Students who did not pass one of two partial tests during the course will take in the next scheduled exams a written test covering the content of the entire course. 

Criteria for assessing learning outcomes: 
All written test are constituted by three numerical exercises, each containing three or four questions. The written test is evaluated on the basis of the procedure that has been adopted and on the numerical results obtained. During the oral test the experimental report on laboratory practicals will be evaluated. It will be also assessed the student's ability to know the definition and the meaning of physical quantities and to formally derive the physical laws learned during the course.

Criteria for measuring learning outcomes:
The final mark is expressed in a scale from 0 to 30. The exam is passed when the mark is greater than or equal to 18. Students can be awarded with the honour mark (30 cum laude).

Criteria for conferring final mark:
The final mark is mainly attributed evaluating the oral test and taking into account in a non quantitative manner of the written test mark. The honour mark is given when the student has demonstrated full mastery of the subject.

Recommended reading

Lecture notes.
A. Giambattista, B. McCarthy Richardson, R. C. Richardson, "Fisica Generale. Principi e applicazioni", McGraw-Hill, second edition, 2012.
P. Pavan, F. Soramel, “Problemi di Fisica Risolti e Commentati”, Casa Editrice Amborsiana, third edition, 2007
Any physics text for university courses.

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