Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Single cycle degree programme (LMCU) in Pharmacy (cod. 5985)

Learning outcomes

The purpose of these lectures is to provide a general background in physics and to provide some necessary skills for future applications, like biology, physiology and laboratory courses.

Course contents

science and physical science. The experimental method. Measurements in physics. Fundamental units. International System (SI). CGS system. Dimensional equations. Measurement uncertainties. Difference between rounding and truncation.

introduction. Scalar and vector quantities. Vector operation: unit vector, addition, scalar multiplication, dot and cross vector products, how vectors transforms. One dimensional motion: Position, displacement and separation vectors, average speed, velocity and acceleration vectors. Motion with constant velocity. Motion with constant acceleration. Circular motion. Simple two dimensional motions.

introduction, mass, force. Newton's three laws of motion. Linear momentum and conservation of linear momentum. Fundamentals forces and pseudoforces.

Force, work, energy:
introduction, Definition of work, kinetic energy, conservative forces, potential energy, potentials and fields. Conservation of energy, frictionless constraints, inclined plane.

Harmonic motion: kinetic and potential energy, pendulum.

Non conservative forces: friction.

introduction, planetary motions, Kepler's laws, law of gravitation, gravitational potential energy.

Mechanics of points:
introduction, center of mass, rigid body, moment of inertia, torque, angular momentum, conservation of angular momentum, rotation of a rigid body, rotational kinetic energy

introduction. Density. Pressure. Hydrostatic pressure law, Stevino's Law. Ideal fluids, Bernoulli's theorem, viscosity, Poiseuille's Law, diffusion, sedimentation, centrifugation. Liquids: superficial tension, capillarity.

introduction, temperature measurement, ideal gas, the Laws of thermodynamics, heat, work and internal energy. Heat engines: efficiency of a reversible engine. Entropy. Heat flow: heat conduction, heat irradiation. Kinetic theory of gases.

introduction, electric charge Coulomb's Law, electric field, electric potential . Electric flux and Gauss's law. Applications of Gauss's law, work and energy in electrostatics. Field and potential of an electric dipole. Electric fields in matter: conductors. Basic properties of conductors. Capacitors. Energy stored in a capacitor. Series and parallel capacitors.
Electric fields in matter: dielectrics. Polarization, dielectric constant.

electric current, steady currents, Ohm's Law, conductivity, resistivity, electrical power dissipated in a resistor: Joule's law, resistors, series and parallel resistors. Electromotive force. Charge and discharge transients in a RC circuit.

Lorentz force, Biot-Savart's Law, Ampere's Law. Magnetic fields in matter: magnetization. Diamagnets, paramagnets, ferromagnets. Electromagnetic induction. Faraday's law, Lentz's law, inductance. Energy in magnetic fields. Maxwell equations.

introduction. Propagation of waves, frequency, wavelength, D'Alambert's wave equation, sinusoidal waves, Fourier's theorem. Sound, speed of sound. Electromagnetic waves. Energy and momentum carried by an electromagnetic wave. Poynting's vector. Polarization. Waves on a string. Standing waves. Beats.

Ray Optics:
introduction. Reflection and trasmission. Index of Refraction, total reflection. Wave guide. Mirror, lenses, focal length, magnification, magnifying lens. Compound lenses, microscope. Lens aberration.

Interference and diffraction:
introduction, Huygens' principle, Young double slit experiment. Diffraction from a single slit. Diffraction grating. Resolving power. Light polarization. Polarizers.

Modern physics:
introduction. Black body radiation. Plank's quantum theory. Photoelectric effect. The photon. Energy and momentum of the photon. Atomic physics: Thompson, Rutherford and Bohr models. Principles of quantum mechanics. Radioactivity. Law of radioactive decay.


A. Lascialfari, F. Borsa, A.M. Gueli - Principi di Fisica per indirizzo biomedico e farmaceutico - EsiSES Università;
Douglas C. Giancoli - Fisica, principi e applicazioni - Zanichelli

Teaching methods

Lessons, exercises and computer simulated experiments.

Assessment methods

An oral examination after the candidate passed a preliminary written exam.
The written exam consists of 6 exercises, regarding all the course contents, to be carried out in 1 hour and half. The written examination is passed with at least 3 exercises correctly solved (resolving formula, numerical result with 3 significant digits, units of measurements). The written examination validity is 3 months.
Alternatively 2 partial written exams are foreseen, with 3 exercises each, regarding the first and the second half of the course contents. The final score is the sum of the two with the same evaluation method described above. The 2 partial written examinations (if passed) preserve their validity for 1 year.
The oral examination regards all the course contents and (if it is the case) the written exam(s) discussion. Whether the student passed the 2 partial written exams the oral examination became a bit lighter.

The final evaluation takes into account the written exam (or the 2 partial written exams) judgment.

Teaching tools

Blackboard, overhead projector, PC projector.

Office hours

See the website of Tiziano Rovelli