Physics I

1 YEAR2 semester12 CREDITS
Prof. Maria Richetta2019-20
Code: 8037948


1 – Analyze and interpret motion of particles, systems and rigid bodies and perform calculations relative to the different types of motion (rectilinear, curvilinear, rotational, etc.)
2 – Analyze and interpret the above types of motion in relatively moving inertial refernce frames and perform calculations to switch from one reference frame to another.
3 – Analyze and interpret oscillatory motion, simple, forced and damped harmonic motion, and perform calculations of the: i) horizontal and vertical mass-spring systems, ii) simple pendulum, iii) compound pendulum.
4 – Analyze and interpret wave motion, transverse and longitudinal waves, and wave equations, and perform calculations of transverse waves along a stretched string and of longitudinal waves inside pressurized gases.
5 – Formulate the concepts of superposition and interference; analyze standing waves, sound waves, and the Doppler effect.
6 – Analyze and interpret elementary concept of fluid statics and fluid dynamics, and perform calculations of bouyant forces and of motion of fluids in constricted pipes.
7 – Interpret the concepts of temperature, heat, and phase change, and perform calculations with temperature scales, heat capacity, and specific heat.
8 – Conceptualize the model of the ideal gas, perform calculations using the ideal gas law, and analyze and interpret the kinetic theory of ideal gases.
9 – Interpret the first law of thermodynamics, and calculate and predict work, heat, and internal energy change for various thermodynamic processes.
10 – Interpret the concepts of reversibility, second law of thermodynamics, and entropy, and analyze heat engines, heat pumps and refrigerators.

Students acquire understanding and knowledge of the most important phenomena and physical laws concerning the world around us, at the level in which they operated (Physics 1). The teaching approach provides the foundation for this understanding, based on the use of mathematical methods and on the presentation / explanation of historical and recent experiments and examples taken from everyday life. The most important physical topics are learned in terms of logical and mathematical structure, and experimental evidence. At the end of the course students have assimilated a complete knowledge of the basic themes of classical physics. The methods by which these skills are provided include lectures, tutoring, exercises and knowledge are assessed during exercises, tutoring and final exams.

Physics 1 students are capable to create, describe, refine and use representations and models (both conceptual and mathematical) to communicate scientific phenomena and solve scientific problems. Basically, to make a good model, they have to be able to identify a set of the most important characteristics of a phenomenon or system that may simplify analysis. Since the use of representations is fundamental to model introductory physics, they must know how to realize pictures, motion diagrams, force diagrams, graphs, diagrams, and mathematical representations such as equations, and recognize that representations help in analyzing phenomena, making predictions, and communicating ideas.

The training provided for students in Physics is hallmarked by the acquisition of a flexible mentality that helps them to extend the knowledge learned to new concepts, enabling them to introduce elements of innovation. They are capable of assessing orders of size for the physical quantities relevant to the system under study. These activities encourage students to develop their independence of judgement. They become capable to pose, refine and evaluate scientific questions, being an important instructional and cognitive goal. Even within a simple physics topic, posing a scientific question is mandatory.

Students develop the ability to present what they have learnt during the course with clarity, and likewise additional knowledge acquired from textbooks. They are expected to present their knowledge effectively. This skill, which concerns both oral and written presentations, should be based on the capability for analysis and integration of areas of knowledge developed during the course. They necessarily develop a positive attitude to group work.
Assessment of the attainment of written and oral communication skills is performed during classroom exercises, tutoring and through written and oral exams at the end of the course.

Physics 1 students learn how to work with scientific explanation and theories, justify claims with evidence, articulate the reasons that scientific explanations and theories are refined or replaced, evaluate scientific explanations.
On these bases they connect and relate knowledge across various scales, concepts, and representations “in” and “across” domains. For example, after learning the concepts of conservation law in the context of mechanics, students will describe what the concept of conservation means in physics and extend the idea to other context.
This will be assessed by exercises, during tutoring time and exams at the end of the course.


• INTRODUCTION – Measurement. Fundamental quantities and units. Plane angle. Solid angle. Direction. Scalars and vectors. Components. Scalar and vector products. Vector representation of the area. Forces. Composition of concurrent forces. Torque. Torque of concurrent forces. Coplanar forces. Parallel forces.
• KINEMATICS – Rectilinear motion: velocity, acceleration. Curvilinear motion: velocity, acceleration. Motion under constant acceleration (tangential and normal components). Circular motion: angular velocity, angular acceleration. General curvilinear motion.
• RELATIVE MOTION – Relative velocity. Uniform relative translational motion. Uniform relative rotational motion. Motion relative to the earth. Transformation of velocities.
• DYNAMICS OF A PARTICLE – Introduction. The law of inertia. Linear momentum. Principle of conservation of momentum. Dynamic definition of mass. Newton’s second and third laws: the concept of force. Unit of force. Frictional force. Frictional force in fluids. System with variable mass. Curvilinear motion. Angular momentum. Central forces. Equilibrium and rest.
• WORK AND ENERGY – Work. Power. Units of work and power. Kinetic energy. Work of a force constant in magnitude and direction. Potential energy. Conservation of energy of a particle. Rectilinear motion under conservative forces. Motion under conservative central forces. Discussion of potential energy curves. Non-conservative forces.
• DYNAMICS OF A SYSTEM OF PARTICLES – Motion of the centre of mass. Reduced mass. Angular momentum of a system of particles. Kinetic energy of a system of particles. Conservation of energy of a system of particles. Collisions.
• DYNAMIC OF A RIGID BODY – Angular momentum of a rigid body. Moment of inertia. Equation of motion for rotation of a rigid body. Kinetic energy of rotation.
• OSCILLATORY MOTION – Kinematics of simple harmonic motion. Force and energy in simple harmonic motion. Dynamics of simple harmonic motion. The simple pendulum. Compound pendulum. Superposition of two simple harmonic motions. Coupled oscillators. Anharmonic oscillations. Damped oscillations. Forced oscillations.
• MECHANICS OF FLUIDS – Pressure. Variation of pressure with depth. Pressure measurements. Buoyant forces and Archimedes’ Principle. Fluid dynamics: Bernoulli’s Equation. Applications of fluid dynamics.
• MECHANICAL WAVES – Propagation of disturbance. Sinusoidal waves. The speed of waves on strings. Reflection and transmission. Rate of energy transfer. The linear wave equation. The speed of sound. Periodic sound waves. Intensity. The Doppler Effect. Superposition and interference. Standing waves in strings. Resonance. Standing waves in air column. Beats.
• THERMODYNAMICS – Temperature and the Zeroth Law of thermodynamics. Thermometer. Celsius Scale. Gas thermometer. Absolute temperature scale. Macroscopic description od ideal gases. Heat and internal energy. Specific heat. Latent heat. Work and heat. The First Law of thermodynamics. Applications of the First Law. Energy transfer mechanism. The kinetic theory of gases: molecular model Molar specific heat. Adiabatic processes. Equipartition of energy. The Boltzmann Distribution Law. The Second Law of thermodynamics. Heat engines. Pumps and refrigerators. Reversible and irreversible processes. The Carnot engine. Entropy. Entropy changes in irreversible processes. Entropy on macroscopic scale.