# Physics

- Overview
- Assessment methods
- Learning objectives
- Contents
- Full programme
- Bibliography
- Teaching methods
- Contacts/Info

The course will try to be self-consistent. However, students will benefit from having a preliminary high-school level preparation in selected mathematical topics which will endow them with the optimal “equipment” to afford this “voyage”. Familiarity with the concepts of proportionality and function, and with the usage of powers, roots, exponentials, logarithms, expression of numbers in powers of ten (i.e. scientific notation), and the concept of vector would be particularly desirable. Similarly, basic knowledge in planar geometry, particularly on applying the Pitagora theorem and handling basic trigonometric functions, may be helpful. The students should also be comfortable with the equivalence principles and their application to formula and equation inversions/manipulations. Finally, the ability of providing a rudimental definition of the physical quantities velocity, acceleration, force, energy, and volume, although not strictly required, would be welcomed.

The exam will be kept at the end of the course, during the teaching stop periods, and will focus on the whole program. It will consist in:

- A written test in which 5 problems will be administered. The student will be required to solve them in a maximum time of 3 hours, detailing the procedures and making reference ti theoretical notions exploited for the solution. To each problem a maximum of six points will be assigned. The sum will give the mark in /30.

- An oral colloquium

During the course two partial tests will be also scheduled, one at the end of each semester. These tests, focusing only on the topics developed during the pertaining semester, will be constituted by twelve multiple choice queries. The limit time for the execution of each test is two hours. For each correct answer two points will be assigned. The queries of each test will be grouped according to six topics, for each of those two queries will be proposed. The student will be required to detail the procedure used to provide the answer for one of the two queries of each group at his/her own choice. For the procedures a maximum of 6 additional points will be assigned (one for each procedure). The sum of the acquired points will give the mark in /30. The students who stand the partial tests obtaining a mark of 18/30 in both of them will be allowed to stand the oral colloquium in any session of the solar year 2020, without affording the written exam.

During the course four experimental assignments (two for each semester) will be also proposed on a voluntary basis. The students who afford at least one of the assignments and prepare a scientific report on their work judged satisfactory will be allowed to choose whether to stand the oral colloquium only on the description of the assignment. In this case, the students at the end of the colloquium may record the mark obtained in the written test (or the average of the marks obtained in the partial tests). The students who wish to stand the standard colloquium even though they have executed one or more approved assignments with will be evaluated as if they had obtained a better mark in the written exam, namely one additional point per approved assignment.

Finally, during the year a number of tests will be administered to the students via a free mobile phone application. The students answering correctly to at least 75% of the total queries proposed in the above-mentioned tests will be allowed to stand the oral examination on a topic at their own choice, organizing a presentation of roughly 15 minutes. If they desire, they may also prepare a slide show to help themselves during the presentation. In this case, the students will be allowed to register the mark of the written exam (or the average of the marks obtained in the partial tests). The students wishing to stand the standard oral examination although having afforded the tests via app satisfactorily will be evaluated as if they had obtained in the written exam a mark better by two points than the actual one.

N.B.: the unanswered queries will be computed in the evaluation of the tests via mobile application as incorrect answers.

N.B.: The students intending to stand the oral colloquium must not consider the mark attained in the written exam as an inferior limit to their global score. In case the preparation of a student resulted inadequate after the oral colloquium, the student would be required to repeat also the written part of the exam. The students who have passed the written test can choose to stand the oral colloquium in the same session or in the following one.

The course is intended to provide the students with a critical glance into the scientific method and the common traits joining the way of thinking of a physicist and a life-scientist, thanks to the awareness that most techniques, methods and instrumentations typical of a biology laboratory rely on physical phenomena and that a qualitative comprehension of such phenomena is useful to correctly apply these tools and interpret the pertaining results. An overview of the main physical concepts, particularly in the fields of dynamics, of fluids dynamics, of thermodynamics, of electrostatics and electrodynamics, will allow the student to understand the importance of the physical thinking in different fields of Biology, including metabolic processes, the functionality of the locomotive apparatus, the transmission of nervous signals, the structure of DNA.

The tone of the lectures will be as qualitative and speculative as possible, with no ambition of introducing rigorous demonstrations or reproducing complex calculations. Particular attention will be devoted to develop in the students problem solving abilities.

Topic 1. Selected elements of basic mathematics (2h)

Learning goals:

- Recall the concepts of function and vector

- Provide basic notions on the cartesian representation of functions and variables

Topic2. Measurements of physical quantities (2h)

Learning goals:

- Understand the importance of quantitative analysis and of the process of measurement in science

- Mature the awareness that each measurement is subjected to errors, distinguish between systematic and stochastic errors and afford analyses of possible error sources and causes

- Define the concepts of physical quantity (observable) and measurement unit and appreciate their difference

- Learn the meaning and utility of “physical model”

Topic 3. Kinematics of material point – Bodies move (4 h front lecture + 2 h exercitations)

Learning goals:

- Define the concepts of position and displacement, velocity and acceleration

- Define the physical entity “material point”

- Understand what is meant for motion equation of a material point

Topic 4. Dynamics – Bodies interact (6 h front lecture + 2 h exercitations)

Learning goals:

- Define the concept of force

- Introduce and analyze critically the Newton’s laws

- Define the physical quantities “work” and “potential energy”

- Define “linear momentum” and “kinetic energy”

- Define a constant of motion, introduce the laws of conservation of dynamics (mechanical energy and linear momentum)

Topic 5. Seing macroscopic bodies as made up of constitutive elements behaving as interacting material points: the states of matter. (12 h front lecture + 6 h exercitations)

Learning goals:

- Classify the states of matter and their main features

- Define the concept of rigid body

- Introduce the model of ideal fluid and the physical quantities involved in the treatment of fluids statics and dynamics (particularly pressure, flow rate, and viscosity)

- Define the perfect gas on the microscopic scale

- Sketch the fundamental traits of the kinetic theory of perfect gas

Topic 6. Macroscopic bodies contain energy due to the motion of particles they are made of and of their mutual interactions: introduction to thermodynamics (8 h front lectures + 2 h exercitations)

Learning goals:

- Define the microscopic analogues of internal energy and temperature

- Define the concepts of state variables

- Introduce and explain the first law of thermodynamics

- Introduce the second law of thermodynamics

Topic 7. The electric charge and the electrostatic interaction. The physical bases of interactions on the atomic and molecular scale (10 h front lectures + 6 h exercitations)

Learning goals:

- Introduce the Coulomb force

- Quantify the work and the potential energy associated to an electrostatic interaction

- Define the physical quantities “electric field” and “electric potential”

- Define the physical quantity “electric capacity” and introduce the electric elements “capacitor”

- Define the physical quantities “electric current”, “electric resistance”, “electromotive force” resistivity” and “current density”

- Define the electrical elements generator and resistor

Topic 8: What is light and how does it interact with matter? (4 h front lectures + 2 h exercitations)

Learning goals:

- Introduce the corpuscular picture of light

- Introduce the reflection and refraction phenomena

- Introduce the concept of wave and the connected physical quantities (wavelength, frequency, period, propagation velocity)

- Introduce the interference and diffraction phenomena

- Define the concept of spectrum of a light radiation

Topic 9. The “ultraviolet catastrophe” and the crisis of classical physics: seeking new models to describe Nature on the nanoscopic scale (8 h front lectures)

Learning goals:

- Offer a logical and historical excursus on the causes that led to the development of quantum mechanics

Topic 1. Selected elements of basic mathematics (2h)

Learning goals:

- Recall the concepts of function and vector

- Provide basic notions on the cartesian representation of functions and variables

Topic2. Measurements of physical quantities: building a bridge between Nature and mathematics (2h)

Learning goals:

- Understand the importance of quantitative analysis and of the process of measurement in science

- Mature the awareness that each measurement is subjected to errors, distinguish between systematic and stochastic errors and afford analyses of possible error sources and causes

- Refine a measurements and quantify its error through the statistical treatment of data

- Define the concepts of physical quantity (observable) and measurement unit and appreciate their difference

- Learn the difference between vector and scalar quantities and between fundamental and derived quantities

- Learn the meaning and utility of “physical model”

Topic 3. Bodies move – An introduction of material point kinematics (4 h front lecture + 2 h exercitations)

Learning goals:

- Define the concepts of position and displacement, velocity and acceleration

- Define the physical entity “material point”

- Understand what is meant for motion equation of a material point

Topic 4. Dynamics – Bodies interact and mutually influence their motion (6 h front lecture + 2 h exercitations)

Learning goals:

- Define the concept of force

- Introduce and analyze critically the Newton’s laws

- Define the physical quantities “work” and “potential energy”

- Define “linear momentum” and “kinetic energy”

- Define a constant of motion, introduce the laws of conservation of dynamics (mechanical energy and linear momentum)

Topic 5. Seing macroscopic bodies as made up of constitutive elements behaving as interacting material points: the states of matter. (12 h front lecture + 6 h exercitations)

Learning goals:

- Classify the states of matter and their main features

- Define the concept of rigid body

- Decompose the motion of an extended body in a translational and a rotational component

- Understand the conditions for static equilibrium of an extended body

- Introduce and classify simple mechanical machines, particularly levers

- Model articulations by means of levers

- Introduce the model of ideal fluid and the physical quantities involved in the treatment of fluids statics and dynamics (particularly pressure, flow rate, and viscosity)

- Introduce the principle of Pascal and Stevin’s law

- Introduce the Bernoulli theorem

- Introduce the perfect gas state equation

- Define the perfect gas on the microscopic scale

- Sketch the fundamental traits of the kinetic theory of perfect gas

. Macroscopic bodies contain energy due to the motion of particles they are made of and of their mutual interactions: introduction to thermodynamics (8 h front lectures + 2 h exercitations)

Learning goals:

- Define the microscopic analogues of internal energy and temperature

- Define the concepts of state variables

- Introduce and explain the first law of thermodynamics

- Define an isolated system

- Apply the first law to the solution of simple problems of thermal equilibrium in model isolated systems

- Introduce the concepts of state transition and latent heat

- Introduce the second law of thermodynamics

- Define entropy, enthalpy and free energy

- Understand the statistical significance of entropy in terms of macrostates and microstates

- Provide the basic physical concepts underlying metabolic regulation:

Topic 7. The electric charge and the electrostatic interaction. The physical bases of interactions on the atomic and molecular scale (10 h front lectures + 6 h exercitations)

Learning goals:

- Introduce the Coulomb force

- Apply the Coulomb law to the interaction between two point-like charges and offer a qualitative picture of intra- and inter-atomic interactions based on this model system

- Apply the Coulomb law to the study of the interactions between electric dipoles and offer a qualitative p

Note: Buying textbooks is not compulsory. The textbooks quoted below are only proposals, selected either for the rigorous and clear exposition of topics or for the affinity with the course planning and with the students profile (e.g.: the textbooks designed explicitly for general physics courses in biomedical faculties). Any textbook, even of the high school level, can be used by the student for the domestic study, to complement the didactic materials which will be set at the students disposal by the teacher on the e-learning website. Nevertheless, it is strongly advised to have a reference textbook, whatever it be.

The teacher will briefly review the textbooks quoted below during the first lecture. The students are kindly advised not to afford the purchase of a textbook in advance of this date.

- General physics textbooks

R. D Knight, B. Jones, S. Field: “Fondamenti di fisica: un approccio strategico” ed. Piccin – Nuova Libraria (2017). ISBN 882-99-2790-2

R. Wolfson: “Fisica” (Vol. 1) ed. Pearson Paravia – Bruno Mondadori S.p.A. (2008). ISBN 887-19-2429-0

D. Halliday, R. Resnick, J. Walker: “Fundamentals of physics – fourth edition” John Wiley and sons, Inc. (1993). ISBN 0-471-57578-X (or subsequent editions).

- Textbooks of physics for biomedical faculties

D. Scannicchio, E. Giroletti: “Elementi di fisica biomedica” ed. EdiSES (2015). ISBN 978-88-7959-887-3

F. Borsa, A. Lascialfari: “Principi di Fisica per indirizzo biomedico e farmaceutico”, seconda edizione, ed. EdiSES (2014). ISBN 978-88-7959-816-3.

- Textbooks with solved exercises and problems of general physics

J. R. Gordon, R. V. McGrew, R. A. Serway, J. W. Jewett, Jr. “Esercizi di fisica. Guida ragionata alla soluzione”ed. EdiSES (2010). ISBN 978-88-7959-556-8.

C. del Papa, M. P. Giordani, G. Giugliarelli “Problemi di fisica con soluzione: meccanica-termodinamica-gravitazione” ed. Casa Editrice Ambrosiana (2014). ISBN 978-88-08-18738-3.

- Textbooks with solved exercises of biomedical physics

R. Cerbino “Problemi di fisica biomedica” ed. EdiSES (2019). ISBN 978-88-33-19039-6

- Additional didactic materials

All the didactic materials utilized in class (slides, schemes, films) will be uploaded on the e-learning website promptly after the lectures in which they will be exploited, together with a synopsis of the main contents and learning goals of the pertaining lecture.

Once fixed the lectures timetable, the detailed program of the topics treated in each lecture will be promptly published on the e-learning website, each semester.

To favor the acquisition of prerequisites by all students, a short compendium of basic notions of mathematics and physics will be also uploaded on the e-learning platform before the beginning of the course.

The detailed solutions to the problems afforded during the exercitations will be uploaded on the e-learning platform readily after each exercitation lecture.

After the completion of each topic, a wide panel of exemplary exercises similar to those used in the written exams on this topic will be also provided on the platform. The solutions to these exercises will be loaded after one month, in order to allow the students to test their preparation autonomously and check ex-post the correctness of their answers.

The instructions to download the free mobile phone application for the online tests will be provided during the first lecture.

The purchase of the textbook “Principi di Fisica per indirizzo biomedico e farmaceutico” gives right to access also the online version of the book, with notes and comments of the teacher.

The course is based on the alternation of theoretical lectures and practical exercitations. During theoretical lectures, the main teaching method will be frontal lectures. However, critical and active participation of the students will be fostered by recurring to brain storming activities and involving the students in problem solving activities individually as well as in small groups.

For frontal lectures, the teacher will use:

- Animated logical schemes

- Slide presentations

- Films made by the teacher himself, aimed mainly to amend to the absence of lab activities

During the course, on a voluntary basis, some tests to be completed at home will be administrated to the students using a dedicated, free mobile-phone application.

Four experimental assignments will be also proposed, to be executed individually or in small groups.

During exercitations selected problems excerpted from the advised textbooks (vide infra) will be solved.

The teacher can be contacted by e-mail or by phone at the number 031 238 6272

Once fixed the lectures timetable, the teacher will fix one hour to receive students weekly by appointment at the building of via Monte Generoso, in Varese. The teacher is anyway always available to receive students by appointment at his office in Como, via Valleggio 11.