D3a - Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie, Alimentari e Ambientali - Guida degli insegnamenti (Syllabus)
Basic mathematical concepts (representation on the Cartesian space, direct and inverse proportion, first and second order equations and systems, exponential and logarithmic functions, simple geometrical functions, elementary trigonometry); knowledge of basic concepts in Chemistry (atom, molecule, chemical bond).
The course includes theoretical lectures (4 ECTS), classroom exercises (2 ECTS). Classroom lectures and information about the Course are available on the e-learning web site.
Knowledge and understanding:
The course focuses on the study of matter, energy, forces, and their interaction in the world and universe around us. The course enables students to acquire the necessary competences on the physical basic laws and concepts (both theoretical and experimental), useful to describe and to understand the physical properties of the matter in the framework of the life and environmental sciences. The course presents the fundamentals of theoretical and experimental Physics (mechanics, fluid properties, thermodynamics, electrical and magnetic properties) necessary for graduate study in interdisciplinary disciplines requiring a strong scientific background.
Applying knowledge and understanding:
Students must acquire a rigorous, quantitative and analytic way of thinking and dealing with physical phenomena. In particular, students have to learn the laws of General Physics and to appropriately apply them to interpret the basic phenomena involving movement, energy and thermal, electrical and magnetic properties of matter. Students have also to know how properly use the units of the common physical quantities and the conversion factors between homogeneous units.
Students have to be able to apply the laws of Physics to solve numerical exercises and to communicate the method used to obtain their solution. Finally, students should be able to show understanding of the scientific method used to measure and critically interpret the physical phenomena observed during practical laboratories.
a) independent judgment: ability to assess the implications and the practical results of the various problems to be solved or situations to be interpreted; b) development of the ability to solve complex problems starting from "packages" of base knowledge that can be put together and matched with other information to acquire a higher knowledge level.
Lectures (4 ECTS)
1. Scientific method. Measurements and measurement units. Forces. Newton’s Laws I and III. Weight force. Normal force. Frictional force. Tension force. Elastic force. Measurements of the forces. Operations on vectors: addiction, subtraction, scalar product and vector product. Position and displacement. Speed. Acceleration. Newton’s Law II. Trajectory. Uniform motion. Rectilinear uniformly accelerated motion. Falling bodies. The motion in two dimensions. The motion of the projectile. The circular motion. Work and energy. Conservation of mechanical energy. Non-conservative forces. Impacts. Momentum. Conservation of momentum. Centre of mass. Balance of a rigid body. Moment of a force. Equilibrium of a material point. Rotational dynamics (notes) (1 ECTS).
2. Fluid Mechanics: definition of ideal fluid. Properties of fluids. Definition of pressure. Stevin’s Law. Archimedes’ principle. Pascal’s Law. Continuity equation. Bernoulli’s equation. Real fluids (notes) (1 ECTS).
3. Thermodynamics: Zero law of thermodynamics. Definition of absolute temperature. Specific heat. Heat capacity. State transformations. Latent heat. Thermodynamic systems. Perfect gases. Heat, work and internal energy. First law of thermodynamics. Thermodynamic processes. Cyclic transformations. Second law of thermodynamics. Entropy (1.5 ECTS).
4. The climate machine. Radiation. Fundamentals of Electromagnetism. Microscopy (notes) (0.5 ECTS).
Laboratory experiences (2 ECTS):
The aim of the practical laboratories is to teach students the principles and methods of measurement using the most common laboratory instruments, basic statistical processing, and data graphical representation. In particular, students will perform the following experiments: elongation of a helical spring and verification of Hooke's law; elongation of an elastic body; quantitative relationships between the physical quantities describing a uniformly accelerated motion; forces on a sloping plane; determination of liquids’ or solids’ mass densities; action of atmospheric pressure; Archimede’s force as a function of the volume and the mass of a body. Each experiment will be carried out by groups of 5 students. At the end of the laboratory practice, each group will have to prepare a report on all the activities carried out in the laboratory, describing for each experiment the set-up and the data obtained, the executed calculations, the calculated analytical results (expressed with the correct number of significant digits ) and the final discussion / interpretation.
Learning evaluation methods
At the end of the course there will be two tests with multiple answers (mechanics and thermodynamics), including both theoretical questions and exercises, followed by an oral test, where the students can discuss the laboratory report, in order to improve their final physics exam mark.
All students also have the option to make a written examination, followed by an oral test and, possibly, the presentation of a laboratory report.
Learning evaluation criteria
During the tests, student will have to demonstrate that they: a) have understood the principles and fundamental laws of Physics; b) are able to demonstrate with practical examples the application of the laws studied during the course; c) are able to solve exercises, applying the laws and principles of mechanics or thermodynamics. To pass the Physics exam, the student must demonstrate an overall understanding of the content, present it in a sufficiently correct way, with the use of appropriate technical terminology, and to be able to deal with deductive reasoning that allow to create appropriate links between the studied arguments and to prove that he has acquired a good mastery of them.
Learning measurement criteria
The final mark is awarded out of thirty. The exam is passed when the grade is equal or greater than 18. It is possible to be awarded with the highest marks with honors (30 cum laude).
Final mark allocation criteria
Students who get at the two tests (mechanics and thermodynamics, theoretical questions and exercises) an average vote higher than 18/30 (with a minimum score of 15/30 in each partial test), may decide whether to take the oral test, only discuss the laboratory report to improve their marks, or just accept the average of the two tests as the final mark of the physics exam.
For students who do the written examination, it consists of 2 exercises (mechanics, fluids or thermodynamics). The oral examination, mandatory after the written exam, consists of three questions (mechanics, fluids, thermodynamics), on any subject covered during the course. The laboratory report may increase by 1-2 points (in thirtieths) the exam mark.
The “cum laude” will be given to students who, having achieved the highest mark, have demonstrated the complete mastery of the subjects.
- 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 Ambrosiana, third edition, 2007;
- Any physics text for university courses.
By appointment via email.