Learning outcomes

The students who successfully comple the course will have the necessary methodological bases in the Physics field to face the study of scientific subjects at a university level.


Elementary Mathematics (Algebra, Trigonometry, Geometry).

Teaching methods

 Lectures, exercises in class, homework will also be discussed during class.


Kinematics, dynamics and Motion description
Acceleration and velocity, graphical representation of trajectory, angular and tangent velocity, angular acceleration, simple harmonic motion. Motion on a staright line, gravitational acceleration, free fall motion. Simple two dimensional motions (for example, circular motion at a constant speed, and the motion of a bullet); centripetal acceleration.

Newton laws of dynamics. Equilibrium of a rigid body (forces and torques) with applications: inclined plane, lever, pulley, winch; Hooke’s law; Friction forces; Motion of the center of mass of a rigid body. Momentum, force impulse, Newton’s second law as a momentum change. Work. Power. Kinetic Energy. Conservative forces. Gravitation potential energy, elastic potential energy. Conservation of energy and momentum. Elastic and an elastic scattering (simple scattering, scattering from a wall), Theory of Gravitation, forces and potential energy, acceleration at the surface of a planet, motion of planets and satellites.

Relevant physical quantities: density, pressure (in liquids and gases) flux, flow. Hydrostatics of fluids: Pascal, Stevin, Archimedes principles. Equation of continuity. Torricelli’s pronciple, and Bernoulli’s equation.

Thermodynamics concept
Ideal gas laws. The equation of state for an ideal gas. Pressure and the internal energy of an ideal monatomic gas. Thermodynamic temperature. Heat, specific heat, heat capacity. Phase transition and latent heat. The first principle of Thermodynamics. The definition of efficiency for heat engines, Carnot cycle.

Electrostatics, electrical currents
Electric charge. Coulomb’s law and the electrical field: electric flux, Gauss’ theorem (for example: point charge, charged sphere, charged plane). Motion of point charges in a constant electrical field. Electrical conductors and electrical induction. Electrostatic potential, equipotential surfaces. Potential energy of a uniform electric field and of two point charges. Charge distribution, field and potential for conductor in electrostatic equilibrium. Electrical capacitance, condensers (parallel and series condensers). Electrical current, charge motion, Ohm laws. Electric resistance, resistors (parallel and series). Electromotive force, internal resistance. Joule effect. Wave and oscillations, geometrical optics

Simple harmonic motion
Period, frequency, amplitude. Waves: amplitude, frequency, wavelength,
speed. Superposition principle and interference for harmonic waves. Stationary waves.

Energy transport
Energy density and wave intensity, decrease with the distance for point sources in a spherical wave. Diffraction. Reflection and refraction. Snell and refractive index, total internal reflection. Plane and spherical mirrors: geometry of imaging. Thin lens: geometry of imaging.


  • Serway -Physics for scientists and engineers

Assessment methods

Written and/or oral test

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Università di Pisa
Lungarno Pacinotti 44
56126 Pisa, Italia