cod. 08696

Academic year 2012/13
1° year of course - Second semester
Professor responsible for the course unit
integrated course unit
7 credits
course unit
in - - -

Learning objectives

The course has been designed to provide an introductory basis for other major degree fields including Chemistry, Biology, Physiology, Biochemistry, etc., as well as the physical phenomenology on which they are based or which they make frequent use of. The course will also provide the conceptual basis for understanding a number of major technologies that with increasing frequency are used by doctors and dentists, such as: centrifuges, endoscopes, microscopes, transducers for ultrasound equipment, laser systems, radiology equipment and NMR, radiation detectors, etc. As its final, but perhaps most important, goal, the course has been designed to stimulate students to become more familiar with certain common concepts, but which 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.

Other objectives of the course are:

Knowledge of the regulation on safety and risk prevention for public health environment workers such as employers, managers and operators. Identification of risk factors for chemical, physical, biological and behavioural agents.

Understanding of biostatistics applied to occupational medicine. The software OPENSTAT will be also used to apply the examples, with the aim to make the students able to perform base statistics with a freeware software.


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Course unit content

Physical quantitites and their measurement: Measurement of a physical quantity - Dimensions and units – Errors - Mean value - Standard deviation and sampling approximation -Vector quantities.
Fundamentals of dynamics: Principles of dynamics - Energy, work and power - Weight force - Theorem of the kinetic energy - Conservative force fields - Potential energy - Conservation of mechanical energy - Center of mass and its properties -Conservation of the quantity of motion - Moment of force - Overview of rigid body motion - Levers and the human body – Balance - Elastic phenomena, Hooke’s law and elasticity modules - Flexure and torsion - Elasticity of blood vessels and bones.
Waves and acoustics: Wave motion, wave equation and characteristic parameters - Interference and beats - Stationary waves - Resonance - Diffraction and Huyghens principle - Sound and its characteristics - Intensity, sensation, Weber-Fechner law - Doppler effect - Ultrasound and its application in the biomedical field
Hydrostatics and hydrodynamics: Pressure - Laws of Stevin, Pascal and Archimedes - Atmospheric pressure and Torricelli’s barometer - Arterial pressure and its measurement - Surface tension and Laplace’s formula - Capillarity and Jurin’s law - Gaseous embolism - Pipe flow capacity - Ideal liquid and Bernouilli’s theorem -Implications for blood flow - Real liquids and viscosity - Laminar motion and Poiseuille’s theorem - Hydraulic resistance - Stokes’ equation and sedimentation speed - Turbulent regime and Reynolds number - Overview of cardiac work.
Thermology and thermodynamics: Thermal dilation -Temperature and heat - Laws of gas and absolute temperature - Equation of state of ideal gases and approximation for real gases - Overview of the kinetic theory of gases - Specific heats –Change of state and latent heat - Heat propagation mechanisms -First and second principle of thermodynamics -Thermal machines and efficiency - Entropy and disorder.
Optics: Reflection and refraction - Total reflection and optical fiber - Optical system, focus and dioptric power - Spherical diopter - Thin lenses, mirrors and image construction - Compound microscope - Resolution strength - The eye as a dioptric system - Principal ametropies of the eye and their correction using lenses - Wave theory of light - Laser light.
Electricity, magnetism and electrical current: Electrical charges and Coulomb’s law - Electrical field - Work of the electrical field and electrostatic potential - Dipolar field - Overview of muscle fiber and electrocardiogram - Gauss’s theorem and its applications - Faraday cage - Electrical capacity and capacitor - Current intensity - Overview of the electronic structure of insulators, metallic conductors and semi-conductors - Ohm’s law - Series and parallel resistors – Electromotive force - Thermal effect of current - Electrical conduction in liquids - Passing of current in the human body -Thermoionic and photoelectric effects - Magnetic field and its action on current and magnets - Biot-Savart law - Ampere’s theorem of circulation - Solenoid - Electromagnetic induction - Self-induction – Alternating voltage and current - Impedance -Electromagnetic waves.
Radiation: Structure of the atom and nucleus - Quantum numbers, electronic orbitals and transitions - Unstable isotopes and alpha, beta, gamma radiation - Law of radioactive decay and half-life - Radiation detection - Biomedical applications of radioisotopes - X-rays (production, properties and absorption mechanisms in the matter) - Radiological image - Overview of computerised axial tomography (CAT) and radiofrequency (NMR) imaging techniques- Overview of radiation safety.

For contents of the Statistics and Safety Regulation modules, see single module details.

Full programme

See the Programmes of single Modules.



Bersani, Bettati, Biagi, Capozzi, Feroci, Lepore, Mita, Ortalli, Roberti, Viglino, Vitturi: Fisica biomedica, Ed. Piccin Nuova Libraria (Padova).

Scannicchio: Fisica Biomedica, Ed. EdiSES (Napoli).

Giambattista, McCarthy Richardson, Richardson: Fisica Generale, Ed. McGraw-Hill (Milano).

Classroom notes.


Dec. Leg.vo 81/2008 and further modifications.

L. Alessio, P. Apostoli: Manuale di Medicina del Lavoro e Igiene Industriale, Piccin Editor, 2009.

V. Foà, L. Ambrosi: Medicina del Lavoro, Utet, second edition, 2003. Pictures presented during the course will be available at the Segreteria di Medicina del Lavoro.


Classroom notes.
Basic Statistics textbooks.

Teaching methods

Classroom lectures

Assessment methods and criteria

Oral exam and written tests

Other information

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