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Second semester
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Learning outcomes of the course unit

The educational goal is to provide basic concepts in physics, particularly in the two subfields of mechanics and electromagnetism. These concepts, besides constituting a vital cultural background for a scientific curriculum, are crucial for a satisfactory understanding of many problems in the fields of chemistry and biology, and therefore for food science as well. For example, concepts such as energy or electromagnetic waves are ubiquitous. In addition, the student will become familiar with notions with broad range of applicability such as measurement units, measurement errors or vectorial quantities, and with scientific notation.

1) Learning and understanding: the student will know and understand, at a non-specialist level, fundamental topics in mechanics and electromagnetism. 2) Applying knowledge and understanding: the student will be able to solve simple problems and will learn how to use and manipulate formulas and equations, and to handle their units correctly. 3) Communication skills: the student will be able to clearly present basic concepts in mechanics and electromagnetism and their consequences on observable phenomena. 4) Making judgments :the student will be able to understand and to formalize in mathematical language physical phenomena in the framework of the course, and to contextualize them in other scientific and technological fields 5) Learning skills: the student will be able to use the concepts and tools presented in the course also in other courses of the degree, by deepening them autonomously if needed.


Algebra, trigonometry and basics of mathematical analysis.

Course contents summary

The first part of the course deals with concepts and technical tools of broad interest for scientific and technological disciplines. The second part deals with the mechanics of material points. Of particular importance in this section is the concept of energy. The third part introduces fundamental concepts in electromagnetism.

Course contents

●Introduction to physics. ● Measurement units. ● Measurement errors and their propagation. ● Reference systems. ● Position, trajectory, speed, acceleration. ● Motion on a line and on a circle. ● Newtonian dynamics. ● Forces and their composition. ● Friction. ● Work, kinetic energy, potential energy. ● Gravitational force.● Elastic force. ● Oscillatory motion. ● Weight force. ● Collisions. ●Electric charge. ● Coulomb law. ● Electric field and potential. ● Magnetic field. ● Lorentz force. ●Currents, resistance and Ohm law. ● Electric power. ● Basic concepts on electromagnetic waves and thermal radiation.
Simple exercises will be made to exemplify the previous concepts.

Recommended readings

D. Halliday, R. Resnick, J. Walker Fondamenti di fisica. Or: R. Searway, J. Jewett Elementi di Fisica.
Exercises: Giancarlo Buccella, Esercizi Di Fisica Dal Testo Di Ugo Amaldi "La Fisica Per I Licei Scientifici" Vol. 1 (meccanica) e Vol. 3 (elettromagnetismo). P. Pavan, F. Soramel Problemi di Fisica risolti e commentati.

Teaching methods

Slides will be used to convey the most important messages of the theory lectures. Slides will be available online on The importance of following lectures will be stressed during the course. In fact, the nature of the topics is such that missing lectures makes it difficult to understand the next ones. Exercises will be made at the blackboard with possible participation of the students. By exercises the student will learn how to apply the general concepts exposed in the lessons for solving physical problems.

Assessment methods and criteria

At the end of the course students are evaluated by a written examination including: some simple multiple-choice exercises testing the knowledge of basic concepts; some relatively more complex short exercises testing the capability of using and elaborating these basic concepts; a few questions on general topics allowing the student to expose freely a subject. The mark is a weighted average of the scores the student earns for the three types of questions.
The results of exams are published on the ESSE3 website ( within a few days at most. Students can view the corrected texts by taking an appointment with the teacher.

Other informations

Lectures can be attended remotely, in streaming or recorded