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CODE 104812
  • 9 cfu during the 1st year of 8719 INGEGNERIA INFORMATICA (L-8) - GENOVA
    LANGUAGE Italian
  • SEMESTER Annual


    This course gives all students a common and advanced knowledge base regarding the fundamental concepts of classical physics (mechanics and thermodynamics), paying particular attention to the scientific method used to analyze and solve the problems that arise.

    The course is held in Italian, but questions and discussions can take place also in English and French. Several examples of problems with solutions are provided during the year also in English and French. 



    Aim of this course is to provide a basic knowledge of the principles of classical physics (mechanics, thermodynamics). Study of the fundamentals of kinematics and dynamics of the material point, dynamics of the systems of material points, thermodynamics. Applications of the scientific method to the analysis and resolution of physics problems.


    The General Physics course provides a necessary knowledge base for every engineer in the fields of mechanics and thermodynamics. A large fraction of the lessons is dedicated to solving increasingly complex exercises and problems, interchanging theoretical lessons, examples and exercises in the classroom and online. We start from simple and easily schematizable systems, such as material points, and then move on to the mechanical behavior of material point systems, extended bodies and extended body systems. The second part of the course deals with the thermodynamic behavior of solid, liquid and gaseous materials, and with the fundamental principles of the operation of thermal machines (engines) and refrigerators.

    This course enables students to analyze a physical problem, break it down into simple parts, apply the basic principles of physics and calculate the required results.


    Basic knowledge of algebra and geometry, trigonometry and linear algebra (vectors) are required. It is helpful to be familiar with the concepts of derivatives and integrals. Supplementary exercises at the beginning of the course are planned to fill any gaps in these topics.


    Classroom or online theoretical lessons for about 60% of the available time. Examples and exercises for the rest of the hours. Self-assessment exercises at the end of each lesson block (approximately every month).


    1. Experimental method, fundamental and derived physical quantities, dimensional analysis and related units of measurement. Reference systems.
    2. Kinematics of the material point: position, displacement, velocity, acceleration vectors. Radial and tangential acceleration. Uniformly accelerated motion, circular motion, harmonic motion. Relative motions.
    3. Inertial reference systems. Newton's laws: application examples. Contact forces: friction, speed-dependent retarding forces.
    4. Non-inertial reference systems and apparent forces.
    5. Work done by a force, kinetic energy, work-kinetic energy theorem, power.
    6. Conservative forces and potential energy, conservation of mechanical energy. Conservation of total energy in an isolated system.
    7. Systems of material points, center of mass and its motion; impulse and momentum, conservation of momentum.
    8. Moment of a vector with respect to a point; moment of a force, angular momentum; relationship between moment of a force and angular momentum for a material point and for a system of material points.
    9. Rigid body, rotation around a fixed axis, rotational work and kinetic energy; moment of inertia, angular momentum and its conservation.
    10. Motion of the planets, Kepler's laws and Newton's law for universal gravitation
    11. Principles of damped and forced oscillations and examples of harmonic oscillators.
    12. Elements of fluid dynamics. Pressure concept.
    13. Zero principle of thermodynamics. Thermometers and temperature scales.
    14. Heat and internal energy. Specific heat. Latent heat and phase transitions. Work of a gas.
    15. First law of thermodynamics. Applications of the first law of thermodynamics.
    16. Quasi-static and adiabatic transformations of a perfect gas.
    17. Thermal machines. Second law of thermodynamics. Carnot cycle.
    18. Heat pumps and refrigerators. Entropy state function. Examples of calculation of ΔS.
    19. Entropy and second law of thermodynamics: ΔS in natural processes. Statistical interpretation of entropy.


    The physics is the same, independently of the textbook. The following book can be found useful, and there are copies in English or French in the University libraries for some of them:

    D. Halliday, R. Resnick, J. Walker, Fondamenti di Fisica, 7a ed., Casa Editrice Ambrosiana.

    C. Mencuccini e V. Silvestrini, Fisica I e II, Liguori Editore.

    S. Focardi, I. Massa, A. Uguzzoni, M. Villa, Fisica Generale, 2a ed., Casa Editrice Ambrosiana.

    R.A. Serway, J.W. Jewett, Fisica per Scienze e Ingegneria Voll.1 e 2, 4a ed., EdiSES, Napoli.

    G. Vannini - Gettys Fisica 1 – Meccanica, 4a ed., McGraw Hill Italia.

    Giancoli, Fisica 1 e Fisica 2, 2a ed., Casa Editrice Ambrosiana, Milano.

    R. Wolfson, Fisica 1 – Meccanica, Termodinamica e Onde


    Exam Board

    DARIO BARBERIS (President)



    ANDREA BERSANI (President Substitute)



    Last week of September.

    Class schedule

    All class schedules are posted on the EasyAcademy portal.



    The traditional exam takes place in two parts, one written and one oral. The written exam consists of 4 problems, to be solved in 4 hours. Those who obtain a mark of at least 15/30 are admitted to the oral exam. There are 5 sessions available for the written exam (June, July, September, January and February of the following year). The oral exam normally takes place one week after the written exam.

    The complete written exam can be replaced by two partial tests (2 problems in 2 hours) during the year, respectively in January and June, only for students enrolled in the first year. Those who pass both partial tests with a mark of 15/30 are admitted directly to the oral exam.

    The oral exam starts from the discussion of the written exam to ascertain the level of knowledge of each student. The final mark depends on both the written mark and the oral result.

    Traditional written exams can be replaced by online exams consisting of multiple choice quizzes if it is not possible to do otherwise.


    The written exam aims to assess the student's ability to face a new problem and solve it on the basis of the knowledge acquired during the course. The oral exam assesses the logical reasoning ability and general knowledge of classical physics.

    Exam schedule

    Date Time Location Type Notes
    18/01/2021 09:00 GENOVA Compitino
    10/06/2021 09:00 GENOVA Compitino
    17/06/2021 09:00 GENOVA Scritto
    24/06/2021 09:00 GENOVA Orale
    08/07/2021 09:00 GENOVA Scritto
    15/07/2021 09:00 GENOVA Orale
    09/09/2021 09:00 GENOVA Scritto
    16/09/2021 09:00 GENOVA Orale