28626 - General Physics T-A (A-K)

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

Maturing the basic concepts of General Physics (with particular regard to particle mechanics) by the language of mathematical analysis, vector and integral calculus. To learn the scientifical-technical methodology which is necessary to face in quantitative terms the problems of General Physics.

Course contents

Basic vector algebra.- Basic definitions and properties of vectors (components, modulus, sum, difference, products), Cartesian representation, derivatives and integrals.

Mathematical introduction to derivatives and integrals.- Incremental ratio, basic definition and geometrical meaning of derivatives, derivatives of some elementary functions, partial derivatives. Integrals: basic definition and geometrical meaning, integrals of some elementary functions.

Kinematics of single point mass- Displacement, velocity and acceleration vectors. Uniform and uniformly accelerated rectilinear motions. Uniform and uniformly accelerated circular motion. Curvilinear motion in 2 dimensions. Angular velocity, centripetal acceleration.

Dynamics of a single point mass - Definition of force. The three Principia of the Dynamics. Inertial reference frames. Inertial mass. Weight, elastic and friction forces. Definition of work of a force. Kinetic Energy. Theorem of Kinetic energy. Potential energy. Potential energy for gravitational and elastic forces. Conservative and non-conservative forces. Conservation of mechanic energy. Energy transformations. 

Dynamics of a system of point masses - Internal and external forces. Linear momentum, impulse, angular momentum. Elastic and inelastic collisions in one and two dimensions. Centre of mass and its theorems. Density. Motion of Rotation about a fixed axis. Momentum of a force. Conservation of total angular momentum. The main equations of dynamics. Work, kinetic energy theorem and energy conservation for a system of point masses.

Rigid body Rotation about a fixed axis. Moment of inertia. The Huygens-Steiner theorem. Kinetic energy of rotation. Statics of rigid bodies.


The Physics books listed below are just suggested, but not compulsory. Good notes taken during the classes, plus consultation of texts as those listed below, are enough for preparing the final exam.

All the problems of previous examinations and further exercises with solutions can be downloaded with username and password at the web site "Virtuale" (Virtual learning Environment) of UniBO


Suggested Physics books:

G, Vannini, Gettys Fisica 1, Meccanica e termodinamica, Mc Graw Hill Education

R.A. Serway, J.W. Jewett Jr, Fisica per Scienze e Ingegneria - Volume primo, Ed. EdiSES

P. Mazzoldi, M. Nigro, C. Voci, Fisica vol. 1,Ed. EdiSES

S. Focardi, I. Massa e A. Uguzzoni: Fisica Generale - Meccanica e Termodinamica, Casa Editrice Ambrosiana.

Teaching methods

The course consists in 6 CFU, corresponding to 60 hours of front lectures. These are done at the blackboard and include both the explanation of quantities and concepts of the Newtonian Physics, and the solution of practical exercises to improve the comprehension of the theory part and to provide the scientifical-technical methodology which is necessary to face in quantitative terms the problems of General Physics. Powerpoint slides are also used in support.

Assessment methods

The final examination is aimed at verifying the acquisition of the teaching goals, namely the comprehension of the Newtonian Physics basics, and the acquisition of the scientifical-technical methodology which is necessary to face in quantitative terms the problems of General Physics.

The examination in presence is made of a 2h written test (typically, with 3 problems and 3 open questions on the "theory part" of the course) and an optional subsequent oral interview, of 15-20 min, on all arguments discussed during the lessons.

In the case of online examination only, the exam could be either as described above, or the written exam will last ~30min and will give (or not) access to the oral interview of 15-20min.

All details about the examination rules and any possible variation can be found at the Teacher web site:


Teaching tools

Exercises and solutions can be downloaded at the web site "Virtuale" (Virtual learning Environment) of UniBO

Tutor assistance.

Office hours

See the website of Barbara Lanzoni