Programme - Physics

Physics 2nd year (165 hours)




Prof. Zbigniew Dunajski – (MSc, PhD, DSc) In the past: Polish Academy of Science - Institute of Biocybernetics and Biomedical Engineering, Faculty of Mechatronics - Warsaw University of Technology, Faculty of Physics - University of Twente, Holland, currently – Department of Biophysics and Human Physiology, Medical University of Warsaw

Dr Maria Sobol – graduated (MSc, PhD) from the Faculty of Physics, University of Warsaw, currently employed by the Department of Biophysics and Human Physiology, Medical University of Warsaw.

Dr Piotr Jeleń – graduated (MSc) from the Faculty of Physics, University of Warsaw, and (PhD) from Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology, currently employed by the Department of Biophysics and Human Physiology, Medical University of Warsaw.




Scalars and Vectors, Physical Measurement, Estimating

Distinction between scalar and vector quantities

Addition and subtraction of vectors

Multiplication and division of vectors by scalars

Multiplication of two vectors (dot product and cross product)

Decomposition of vectors into parallel and perpendicular components along chosen axes

Units, Standards, and the SI System

Order of magnitude

Significant figures



Kinematic concepts (displacement, distance, trajectory, velocity, speedacceleration)

Frames of reference

Instantaneous and average values of speed, velocity and acceleration

Relative motion (relative velocity, relative acceleration)

Uniform motion in a straight line

Uniformly accelerated motion in a straight line

Uniform circular motion (centripetal acceleration)

Harmonic motion (simple harmonic oscillator)

– Models: mass on a spring, simple pendulum

Period and frequency of harmonic oscillations

Mechanical waves, Sound

Graphical representation of motion

Elements of relativistic mechanics (speed of light, time dilation, length contraction, relativistic mass, momentum and energy)


Forces and Dynamics

Newton’s laws of motion

Newton’s first law

– translational equilibrium

– inertial reference frames

Newton’s second law (momentum and impulse)

Newton’s third law

Law of conservation of linear momentum (isolated system, inertial frame)

– Inelastic collisions

– Rockets (reaction engine)

Rotational motion

– Torque and rotational inertia

– Newton's second law for rotation

– Conservation of angular momentum

– Rotational kinetic energy

Static Equilibrium, Elasticity and Fracture

Fictitious forces, analysis of motion in noninertial reference frames

Dry friction

– Static friction

– Kinetic friction

Force due to air resistance (terminal velocity)


Fundamental Interactions (gravitational, electromagnetic, strong nuclear,  weak nuclear)

Elementary particles (bosons, fermions: leptons, quarks (hadrons))

– Gravitational field

– Newton’s law of universal gravitation

– Visualization of gravitational field - gravitational field lines

– First and second cosmic velocities

– Weightlessness and overload

– Vertical free fall, vertical throw and horizontal throw near the Earth’s surface

Electric field

– Electric charge and Coulomb’s law

– Visualization of static electric field - electrostatic field lines

– Motion of charged particles in static electric field

Electric potential

– Electric current

– DC circuits

Magnetic field

– Visualization of magnetic field - magnetic field lines

– Magnetic field around a cylindrical current-carrying conductor

– Magnetic field in a solenoid

– Motion of charged particles in static magnetic field (Lorentz force)

Electromagnetic induction and Faraday’s law

Electromagnetic waves (properties, spectrum)

Strong interaction, weak interaction


Matter Properties

Atomic structure and physical properties of matter

Solid phase

– Amorphous body

– Crystal body

– Thermal expansion of a solid body

Liquid phase

– Internal structure of liquids

– Models of water structure

– Surface tension, meniscus

Gaseous phase

Electrical properties of matter

– Electrical conductors (metals)

– Electrical conductivity of metals as a function of temperature

– Insulators

– Semiconductors

Magnetic properties of matter

– Diamagnetic materials

– Paramagnetic materials

– Ferromagnetic materials


Order and Chaos in Nature

 Temperature and kinetic model of an ideal gas

The ideal gas equation

– Boyle’s law (T=const isothermal process)

– Charles’ law (p=const; changes of thermal energy and work done by a gas in isobaric process)

– Gay-Lussac’s law (V=const; changes of thermal energy in isochoric process)

First law of thermodynamics (practical calculations/usage/application)

Entropy and Second Law of Thermodynamics (formulate the law and resulting

conclusions only)

Heat engines

– The Carnot engine

– Efficiency of thermodynamic engines

– Reversible/irreversible process (examples)



The nature of light

– Speed of light

– Relation of speed, frequency and wavelength

– Visible light spectrum

Reflection of light

– Reflection in a plane and in a curved mirror (mirror equation)

– Constructing images formed by mirrors (type of image, magnification)

Refraction of light

– Refractive index

– Snell’s law

– Dispersion due to a prism

– Critical angle and total internal reflection


– Types of lenses

– Focus, focal length, optical power, magnification

– Image formation

– Thin lens equation

– Optical power of a thin lens (lens maker’s formula)

Optical instruments

– Microscope

– Telescope

– Aberrations


– Diffraction grating

– Interference

Interference from two point source

– Young’s double slit experiment

Polarization and polarizer

– Absorptive polarizer

– Beam-splitting polarizer

– Polarization by reflection (Brewster angle)

– Birefringent polarizer

External photoelectric effect (photoelectric cell)

Bohr’s model of the hydrogen atom

–  Atomic energy states

– Emission spectrum (frequencies, wavelengths)

Absorption and emission spectra – application of spectrum analysis

Laser – design and practical application

The eye and sight

– Myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness)

– Correction of vision defects


Energy Transport and Transformation

Work, energy and power

Kinetic energy

Potential energy

– Gravitational potential energy

– Elastic potential energy

Transformation of energy in harmonic motion

Mechanical resonance

The Principle of Energy Conservation

The Equivalence of Mass and Energy (E=mc2)

Nuclear fission

– Nuclear structure

– Mass number, atomic number

– Nuclear energy levels

Isotope, nucleon

Uranium-235 chain reaction

Nuclear mass defect, nuclear binding energy

Radioactive decay law

Half-life of nuclear decay

Nuclear radiation (α particles, β particles, γ radiation) applications

Description of energy transport in wave movement

Description of thermal energy transfer

– convection

– conduction

– radiation


Structure and Evolution of Universe

Analysis of thermonuclear fusion in stars

The Solar System – sizes and distances between astronomic objects

Planet movement – Kepler’s laws

Star evolution, H-R diagram

The Big-Bang Model


Unity of the Micro-World and the Macro-World

De Broglie’s hypothesis – a matter wave

Experimental confirmation of de Broglie hypothesis

Wave–particle duality

Heisenberg uncertainty principle

Douglas C. Giancoli: Physics, Pearson New International Edition, Sixth Edition, Pearson Education Limited  2014