27533 - Physics 1

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education Gender equality

Academic Year 2021/2022

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 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.


    Personal study and meditation, with the help of a university-level book, is MANDATORY to reach a good comprehension of the arguments of the program.

    One of these books is suggested:

    • 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.


    On the web site https://virtuale.unibo.it/ students can find:

    • the slides and the links to movies and images shown by the teacher during courses. In order to prepare the exam these tools are not sufficient. They are very useful to students that do not attend lectures to understand how the arguments are handled. They are very useful to attending students to keep memory of the lectures. Usually, slides are provided in advance in order to allow students to print and use them for their own remarks during lectures.
    • the text of previous written exams, with a proposed solution. Students can have an idea of the difficulties to face during the final evaluation. 

Teaching methods

Traditional lectures, structured in theoretical parts, examples and exercises. Changes of the standard teaching organization are enivsaged as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

Attending the courses is very useful, though it is not mandatory.

Periodic checks of the level of comprehension can be arranged without score, mainly finalized to student self-evaluation.

The teacher uses the https://virtuale.unibo.it/ platform to directly communicate with students via the Forum, where students can ask questions, propose solutions and discuss with each other and with the teacher.

The teacher encourages the request of personal or group appointments, to be fixed by e-mail, in case of difficulties with the study of this course.

Assessment methods

The final exam for the module Fisica 1 consists of a written and an oral test. Both tests must be successfully passed (at least 18/30 each) in order to pass the exam. Changes of the standard exam rules   are enivsaged as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Details will be distributed in due time.

  • Written examination:  some exercises must be solved in order to check the level of competence reached by the students on the arguments of the course program. Usually, students have 90 minutes to complete the exercises. Examples can be found on the https://virtuale.unibo.it/ platform. The exercises are similar to the examples solved and discussed during the course under the guidance of the teacher. Each question/exercise is given a score. The total sum of the scores is 30. The score is fully assigned if the final result is correct and the procedure to get it is logical and coherent. Otherwise a penalty is applied. As an example: if the numerical result is correct but the procedure is wrong the score is null; an error in the numerical calculation associated to the correct procedure is slightly penalizing. The final score of the written exam is given by the sum of the score of the single exercises/questions.
  • Only pocket calculator can be used during the exam. No books, personal notes and the like can be consulted. Students that are caught cheating during the exam are immediately excluded from the test and the result of the exam registered as RITIRATO (withdrawn).
  • Leaving the room is allowed only after the delivery of the paper. Withdrawing is allowed at any moment during the exam.
  • More trials may be done within the same exam period.
  • Students passing the written exam (score >17/30) are admitted to the oral exam, to be passed within the same session of the written test.
  • The oral exam starts from a conversation on the written test and foresees questions to check the comprehension of the arguments of each sectors of the program: mechanics of point/systems of points; mechanics of fluids; termodynamics.
  • In order to get the Laude the students must have reached at least 29/30 in the written exam and pass the oral exam with an excellent result.
  • Passing the written part is not a guarantee of final success:both thw written and the oral tests must be fully sufficient.
  • A global score, which takes into account both the results of the written and of the oral exams, is assigned for Fisica 1.

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).

The final result of the C.I. Fisica (Fisica 1 + Fisica 2) can be officially registered by either teachers.

Practical information :

  • Enrolling at the written exam is done through Almaesami. The exam list is open few months before the test. Usually the enrolling is closed few days beforehand. No delayed enrolling is accepted after the deadline.

  • Enrolling at the oral exam is done through Almaesami. Usually the enrolling is closed the day before the test. The order provided by AlmaEsami's list is used for the oral exam. Whether the number of students is larger than 30, the oral exam can be arranged on several days. The students can rearrange the order of the list, finding an agreement by themselves.



Teaching tools

Lectures will be given at the blackboard. Slides, drawings and short movies can be used to facilitate the understanding of some concepts and made available on the https://virtuale.unibo.it/ website. Attending the courses is very useful, though it is not mandatory. Changes of the standard teaching organization are enivsaged as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Information and details will be provided in due time.

Students with disabilities (DSA) are invited to contact the teacher in order to provide them with any kind of support useful to fully exploit the courses and to guarantee a proper access to the exams. No need to say that any private information will be treated as confidential. 

Office hours

See the website of Annarita Margiotta