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First Semester 
Teaching style
Lingua Insegnamento

Informazioni aggiuntive

Course Curriculum CFU Length(h)
[60/76]  BIOTECHNOLOGY [76/10 - Ord. 2018]  Industriale e Ambientale 7 60


This is a tutorial introduction of some classical physics relevant to biotechnology.
More specifically, the introduction is aimed at providing fundamental understanding of those basic physics concepts underpinning the most elementary biological mechanisms of living systems.

Some selected topics of mechanics, thermodynamics, electrostatics, and optics will be presented, discussed, and focused on problems like: physics of skeleton statics and movement, muscle tissue elasticity, hydrodynamics of bloodstream, thermal energy exchange in living systems, physics of biological membranes, electric signalling in nervous systems, vision optics.

The Student will learn the basic concepts and language of classical physics and, through guided exercises, will develop a "physical" approach to biological problems.

As for mathematics, the course will largely be "algebra-based" (i.e. nearly no calculus); the formal proof of key concepts and laws will be replaced by heuristic demonstrations and by the conceptual analysis of case-studies.


- High-school knowledge of algebra, trigonometry and elementary geometry.
- Attitude to quantitative reasoning, problem solving and formalization.


- Introduction to physical units, motion, and kinematics
- Forces, work, potential energy
- Elastic forces
- Elementary fluid mechanics
- Concepts about the physics of membranes
- Termology
- Heat and work
- Thermodynamical energy budget
- Thermodynamics of gases
- Interactions among electric charges
- Electrostatic potential and work
- Electric current, resistance and capacitor
- Magnetic field and magnetic interactions
- Electromagnetic induction
- Concepts about electromagnetic waves
- Reflection and refraction phenomena
- Interaction and diffraction
- Lens and optical microscopy.

Teaching Methods

- Classroom lectures and guided exercises
- Self-guided study and evaluation through web-based tools
- Tutorship, as organized and supported by the Faculty.

Verification of learning

- Self-evaluation of the needed background in elementary matemathics and physics
- Self-evaluation tests during the teaching semester
- Final written exam, consisting in the solution of elementary problems, a theory question, and ten multiple-choice questions about basic concepts and formalism


[*] Reference texbook
- D. Scannicchio, E. Giroletti, Elementi di Fisica Biomedica (Casa editrice EdiSES) - ISBN 978-88-7959-887-3 .
All info available at: http://www.edises.it/universitario/scannicchio-elementi-di-fisica-biomedica.html
[*] Alternative textbooks and suggested readings
- F. Borsa, A. Lascialfari, "Principi di fisica per indirizzo biomedico e farmaceutico" (Casa Editrice EdiSES) - ISBN 978-88-7959-816-3.
All info available at: http://www.edises.it/universitario/principi-di-fisica-lascialfari.html
- D.C. Giancoli, "Fisica - principi ed applicazioni" (Casa Editrice Ambrosiana) - ISBN 978-8808-08773-7.
All info available at: http://www.ceaedizioni.it

More Information

Educational material (solution of self-evaluation tests, solved exercises) will be posted on the ESSE3 website:

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