Università degli Studi di Napoli "Parthenope"

Teaching schedule

Academic year: 
Belonging course: 
Course of Bachelor's Degree Programme on BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
Disciplinary sector: 
Year of study: 
Second semester
Hours of front activity: 



Course description

Qualitative / quantitative understanding of the fundamental principles of physics, in particular of classical mechanics, and some elements of modern physics, oriented to applications in the biological field.

Knowledge and understanding: The student must demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the scientific method of analysis, expressing himself with the appropriate mathematical language.

Ability to apply knowledge and understanding: The student must demonstrate that he is able to use the concepts acquired and the tools necessary to proceed with an autonomous analysis of physical processes in a biological context.

Autonomy of judgment: The student must be able to independently evaluate situations other than the standard ones presented by the teacher during the course and to adopt the best solution methods. For this purpose, examples of application and exercises are proposed during the course

Communication skills: The student must acquire the correct terminology and be able to articulate the explanation of physical phenomena in relation to the concepts acquired.

Learning skills: The student is given the opportunity to consult different texts and texts from scientific literature (also in English) in order to acquire the ability to deepen the topics of the sector.


Basic knowledge of infinitesimal and differential calculus


Basic skills
Definition of physical quantity and its dimensions. Systems of measurement, units and fundamental constants. Scalar and vector quantities. Sum and difference of vectors: graphic method and algebraic method. Scalar product and vector product. The gradient vector. Recall of geometry and mathematical analysis: polynomial, trigonometric, logarithmic and exponential functions. Derivatives and properties of elementary functions and related graphic interpretations. Integrals and properties of elementary functions and related graphic interpretations. Overview and examples on differential equations.

Trajectory concept. Position and displacement. Mean vector velocity and scalar in the one-dimensional case. Uniform motion and uniformly accelerated motion in the one-dimensional case. Equations of rectilinear motion in the case of constant velocity and constant acceleration. Graphic interpretation of the laws of motion. Bikes in two and three dimensions. Uniform circular motion. Angular speed. Harmonic motion. Principles of dynamics: the laws of Newton. Inertial reference systems. The impulse theorem. Fields of forces. Gravitation and weight force. Integration of motion equations in a uniform force field; integration into a central force field. Elasticity and Hooke's law. Integration of the equations of motion in a field of elastic forces. Balance of a rigid body and levers

Applications of mechanics
The IgNobel prize 1996: why does the slice of jam always fall on the buttered side? - The musculoskeletal system as a mechanical system - Conditions of equilibrium of the human body - Levers: the trunk-vertebral system, the arm/forearm system, the mandible/maxilla system, the articulation of the knees - Mechanics of locomotion.

Fluid dynamic equilibrium - Continuity equation - Bernoulli's theorem - Surface tension and capillarity - Torricelli pressure and barometer.

Applications of fluid dynamics
Viscosity of the blood - Pressure, work and cardiac power - Elements of sedimentation, electrophoresis and centrifugation - The "soccer" physics: France-Brazil, 1997 and the goal of Roberto Carlos - Germany-Italy, 2006 and the goal of Fabio Grosso - Magnus effect.

The course aims to bring the students closer to the understanding of the basic physical principles. While not neglecting the methodological and mathematical aspects, emphasis is given to the instrumental and informative aspect, with examples taken from the bio-medical world

The course is divided into macro-areas: kinematics and dynamics, fluid dynamics and related biomedical applications.

As for the subdivision of hour of lessons into macro-areas:
- kinematics and dynamics and applications, 30
- fluid dynamics and applications, 18

Teaching Methods

Frontal lessons and experimental practices


Scannicchio, Giroletti – Elementi di Fisica Biomedica - Edizioni EDISES

Learning assessment

Oral exam with pre-selective written test, based on multiple-choice questions with an elementary character. Optionally, students can present to the class, as individuals or as a group composed of at most five people, at the end of the course, the discussion of a paper on a problem inspired by the biological world, to be evaluated according to the Dublin descriptors. The evaluation of the essay, and the questions that will result from it, will be an integral part of the exam.

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