27533 - Physics 1

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

At the end of this course, the student shall know the fundamentals of mechanics and thermodynamics, within the limits of validity and application. In particular the studend shall be able to solve simple problems concerning mechanics (statics and dynamics), the physics of fluids and the principles of thermodynamics.

Course contents


In order to favour a fruitful attendance of the course, the students MUST be familiar with:

  • algebra
  • trigonometry
  • real functions
  • differential and integral calculus.

This course DOES NOT foresee any lectures on these subjects. Each student must remedy possible shortcomings with personal study.



- Presentation of the course contents and of the assessment methods.

- Physical quantities and measurement procedure. Units and system of units.

- Vectors and elements of vector algebra: sum and difference, scalar and cross products. Unit vectors. Vector components, vector derivative. Cartesian coordinate system, vectors in the Cartesian space.


- Kinematics and dynamics of the point particle.

Motion along a straight line. Motion in two or three dimensions. Characteristics of force. Fundamental forces. Newton’s laws of motion. Inertial reference systems. Galileo's transformation laws.

- Work and energy

Work of a force. Kinetic energy. Conservative forces. Potential energy and energy conservation. Non conservative forces.
- Momentum and collisions
Momentum and impulse. Collisions.

Mechanics of the systems of point particles

- Systems of point particles. Theorems of the centre of mass. Equation of the system dynamics. Theorems of Konig.
- Rotational motion
Rotation of rigid bodies. Kinematics of rotational motion. Moment of inertia. Rotational energy. Torque. Angular momentum. Conservation of angular momentum. Rigid body rotation about a fixed axis. Rolling without slipping.

Periodic motion and oscillations 


Newton’s law of gravitation. Motion of satellites. Kepler's laws.

Mechanics of fluids

Density and pressure. Pressure, depth and Stevino’s law. Archimede’s principle. Fluid dynamics: continuity equation, Bernoulli’s equation, Torricelli's theorem.


Temperature and thermal equilibrium. Thermometers and temperature scales. Quantity of heat. Calorimetry and phase changes. Heat transfer.

Thermodynamic systems. Work. Internal energy. The first law of thermodynamics. Ideal gas equation. Heat capacities of an ideal gas. Adiabatic processes for an ideal gas.

The second law of thermodynamics: heat engines and refrigerators. The Carnot cycle. Entropy. Entropy and probability.


    • J. Walker, Halliday - Resnick "FONDAMENTI DI FISICA", vol 1. Meccanica, Onde, Termodinamica", Casa Editrice Ambrosiana.

    • P. Mazzoldi, M. Nigro, C. Voci "Elementi di fisica. Vol. 1: Meccanica, termodinamica", Edises.

Teaching methods

Traditional lectures, structured in theoretical parts, examples and exercises.

Participation and contributions of the students to lectures is strongly encouraged, through questions, suggestions for discussion and for exercises' resolution.

Periodic checks of the level of comprehension can be arranged without evaluation /score.

Assessment methods

The acquired knowledge is assessed by both a written and a (compulsory) oral exam.

Written examination has to be passed before the oral examination (>17/30).

The oral examination must be passed within the same session of the written test.

If needed, more trials may be done within this period. The last result is considered valid, no matter if better or worse of the previous one. The written exam consists of few problems to be solved in 2 hours.

During the written exam the usage of a calculator is allowed. No personal notes or books are allowed.

The mark obtained from Fisica 1 must be integrated to  the mark got  in Fisica 2  before proceeding to the official registration of the 12 credits. The two exams must be passed within one year and a half one from the other (to allow for the different periods of the two courses).



Teaching tools

Lectures will be given at the blackboard. Occasionally slides, drawings and short movies can be used to facilitate the understanding of some concepts. This means that attending the lectures is very useful, though it is not mandatory.

Office hours

See the website of Annarita Margiotta