## Learning objectives

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.

Knowledge and understanding

The student should prove to know and understand some of the most important aspects of classical physics, and of the physical laws controlling them.

Applying knowledge and understanding

The student should be able to understand similarities and differences between physical systems, and to comprehend physical laws. The student should be able to comprehend the essential aspects of physical laws, perform independently simple exercises, analyze the data and summarize the problems in their essential aspects.

Making judgements

Students, at the end of the course, will have to demonstrate that they have improved their critical thinking skills and judgment capability in particular to interpret data, elaborate on natural phenomena, communicate ideas-problems-solutions in order to develop the learning skills that are necessary to undertake further studies in biophysics or carry out professional activities related to it.

Learning skills

Students, at the end of the course, will have to demonstrate that they have started a path of understanding of the main classical physical issues, identification of the physical laws behind natural phenomena, comprehension of the most recent research results and translation into professional actions, that should be considered as self-study.

## Prerequisites

Basics of arithmetic, algebra and calculus

## Course unit content

Introduction

Mechanics

Fluid mechanics

Thermodynamics

Electromagnetism

Optics

## Full programme

Introduction

Physical quantities and Units. Vectors and scalars. Operations with vectors. Dimensional analysis and order of magnitude. Measurements and errors.

Mechanics

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.

Fluid mechanics

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.

Thermodynamics

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.

Electromagnetism

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.

Optics

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.

## Bibliography

Principi di Fisica

Serway Jewett

EdiSES

Fondamenti di Fisica

James S. Walker

Zanichelli

## Teaching methods

Oral lessons and exercises

## Assessment methods and criteria

Written exam, multiple choice test with questions on theory and exercises.

## Other information

On Tuesday (12:30-14:30 p.m) by appointment (Email) at the Department of Physics and Earth Sciences.