28000 - General Physics T-2

Course Unit Page


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

Quality education

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student has acquired education to the scientific-experimental method: in particular, the physical meaning of the basic laws of electrostatics, magnetostatic, electric currents, electromagnetic induction; the properties characterizing the mechanical waves and electromagnetic ones; the ability to use the laws of physics to the solution of simple problems.

Course contents


1. Introduction

Fundamental interactions.Structure of matter: atoms and molecules.

2 The electrostatic field in vacuum

Coulomb's law. Superposition principle. Conservation of charge. Quantization of charge; Millikan's experience. Electrostatic field. Electric dipole; electric dipole moment. Electrostatic fields calculation: uniformely charged wire, flat charge distributions. Energy potential and electrostatic potential. Calculation of electrostatic potentials. Solid Angle. Gauss' law. Electrostatic fields calculation with Gauss's law. Discontinuities of the electrostatic field. Potential of the electric dipole; dipole in an external electric field. Multipole expansion.

3 Electrostatic with conductors

Elements of the microscopic structure. Macroscopic observations: insulators and conductors. Grounding. Conductors in electrostatic equilibrium. Bending effects. Conductor cables. Poisson's and Laplace's equations. Electrostatic capacity. Capacity calculations: plane, spherical and cylindrical capacitors. Connections of capacitors in series and in parallel. Electrostatic barriers. Method of images. Electrical stability of the conductors.

4 Electrostatic energy

Energy density. Energy in the plate and the spherical capacitor. Proper energy. Dielectrics and dielectric constant. Elements of polarization, linear dielectrics, electric vector displacement of charged energy in a dielectric.

5 Electrical currents

Current intensity and current density. Drift velocity. Conservation of electric charge; continuity equation. Ohm's Law: resistance and resistivity. Dissipative forces and the Joule effect. Generators of electromotive force; imprinted field. Slow charge and discharge of a condenser. Connections of resistances in series and in parallel. Outline the use of Kirchhoff's laws.

6 Static magnetic field

Magnetic induction field. Lorentz force. Second law of Laplace. Hall Effect. Invariance of the electric charge. Motion of charged particles in magnetic fields. Coil traversed by the current in a magnetic field; magnetic dipole moment. Galvanometer and electric motor. The magnetic field sources. Biot and Savart law. magnetic permeability. Law of the circuitry of Ampere. Of simple calculations of magnetic induction fields. Solenoids. Forces between parallel current carrying wires. I nod to the vector potential. Short of magnetism in the material elements; the magnetization.

7 Electromagnetic induction

Induced electromotive force and Faraday's law. Lenz's law. Electric fields by variable magnetic fields. Electric generators. Countervoltage and eddy currents. Inductance. of the magnetic field energy. Circuits LR, LC, LCR. Displacement current. Maxwell's equations.

8 Waves

Free, damped and forced harmonic oscillations. Resonance. Propagation of physical disturbance waves. Elastic waves in fluids and solids. D'Alembert equation. Energy, reflection and transmission. Superposition of waves. Beats. Phase and group velocities. Standing waves. Plane and spherical waves. Electromagnetic waves. Transversal character of electromagnetic waves. Energy and momentum: Poynting vector. Accelerating charges. Radiation by oscillating charges. Spectrum of electromagnetic waves and light. Diffusion and absorption of light. electromagnetic fields in dielectrics. Dispersion and absorption. Propagation of light in transparent media. Reflection and refraction. Wave interference and consistency. Diffraction and Huygens principle. Polarization.


Any book covering the items of the course at the undergraduate level. Several books are available on the market in english, among them:

Halliday & Resnick, Fundamental physics

Hewitt, Conceptual physical science

Young, Sears and Zemansky's University Physics with Modern Physics

Teaching methods

Traditional frontal lessons; blackboard and chalk. An overhead projector might be occasionally used.

Assessment methods

Partial written test during course. Final written test required for admission to the oral test.
For the written and oral tests, registration on AlmaEsami is compulsory and must be made no later than 7 days before the exam.

Office hours

See the website of Mauro Villa

See the website of Matteo Franchini