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Second Semester 
Teaching style
Lingua Insegnamento

Informazioni aggiuntive

Course Curriculum CFU Length(h)
[60/64]  MATHEMATICS [64/00 - Ord. 2017]  PERCORSO COMUNE 12 96


1. Knowledge and understanding
Students will learn the basics of electromagnetism and optics and will be introduced to experimental data analysis.

2. Applying knowledge and understanding
Students will learn how to solve fundamental problems in electromagnetism. They will carry out laboratory activities, deepening and applying physical ideas taught in class. In particular, students will be trained to solve a problem starting from a qualitative analysis and to classify it on the basis of its structural features.

3. Making judgements
Students will get interested through an intuitive physical approach to mathematical models, aiming to increase their sense of criticism.

4. Communication skills
Students will be learnt how to present ideas and concepts by organizing their knowledge in a hierarchic mode. They will learn how to simplify complex problems into their basic aspects. They will also learn how to present in a scientific report experiments and results obtained in laboratory.

5. Learning skills
Students will develop a study and analysis methodology that will allow them to understand and deepen the basic issues in electromagnetism together with their experimental aspects.


basics of mathematics, calculus, vector analysis, differential and integral calculus (with fundamental theorems), mechanics For Module II, electrostatics and magnetism


Module I
Coulomb's law, the electric field, superposition principle, electric dipole, dipole approximation, dipole in an external electric field, Gauss' law and its application in some simple cases, electrostatic potential and potential energy, electrostatic shield, capacitors. Dielectrics: polarization vector and polarization charge density.
Electric current and current density. Ohm's law and simple circuits.
Magnetic field, Lorentz force, Laplace's laws, electric currents in a magnetic field, magnetic moment, sources of magnetic fields, Biot-Savart law, Ampere's law, magnetic energy, magnetic materials.

Module II
(a)Inductance, RC, and LR circuits. Maxwell's equations. Electromagnetism and electromagnetic waves. Faraday's law. Phenomenon of auto-induction. Electromagnetic waves: spectrum, generation and propagation. Plane wave. Transported energy, Poynting vector and intensity. Linear polarization and Malus’s law. Reflection and refraction. Speed of light in matter. Mirrors and lenses. Optical instruments. Coherence. Young's experiment. Interference from multiple sources and thin films.
Fraunhofer diffraction from a slit and from a circular hole. Resolving limit of a lens. Diffraction grating. Dispersive and resolving power of a grating.
(b) Introduction to the experimental data analysis.
Operational definition of physical quantities. Fundamental and derived physical quantities. Systems of units.. Measuring a physical quantity. Measuring apparatus. Reading sensitivity and measurement. Numeric representation of data. Significant figures and rounding of values.
Uncertainties in physical measurements. Systematic and accidental errors. Absolute error and relative error. Representation of errors. Direct and indirect measures. Propagation of errors.
Histograms and distributions. The Gaussian distribution and physical meaning of its parameters.
Method of least squares. The general problem of best fit. The linear best fit. Correlation coefficient. Adaptation to non-linear curves.
The rejection of the data. Analysis of the discrepancy.

(c) Laboratory experiments.
Experiments on a few chosen topics covered in the course.

Teaching Methods

Module 1:
48 hours of theory lessons and 12 for exercises

Module 2:
34 hours of theory lessons and 8 for exercises
14 hours of laboratory experiments

Verification of learning

Written exam focused on exercises and/or applied examples. Passing it is necessary to be admitted to the oral exam. A report on a laboratory experiment is also required.
Oral exam (two questions for each part) on formal and conceptual issues.
Besides taking the global exam on the two parts together, the students will be allowed to take two separate exams each on one single part.
The following aspects will be evaluated:
- knowledge gained and understanding of the concepts
- ability in relating concepts and their implications
- use of proper language and terminology
- presentation skills
The report on laboratory experiment represents 20% of the grade of the second part.
Final grade is the weighted average of the grades obtained in the two parts.


P. Mazzoldi et al., Fisica 2: Elettromagnetismo, onde, Edises (reference text book)
C. Mencuccini e V. Silvestrini, Fisica II, elettromagnetismo ottica

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