Programme - Physics

Programme - Physics

Physics 2nd year (165 hours )




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


Distinction between scalar and vector quantities, decomposition of vectors into components, operations on vectors; Units, standards, and the SI system; Order of magnitude, significant figures




Displacement, distance, trajectory, velocity, speedacceleration, frames of reference, relative motion, instantaneous and average speed/velocity, uniform motion and uniformly accelerated motion in one and in two dimensions, uniform circular motion


Forces and Dynamics


Newton’s laws of motion, dynamics of motion in a straight line, uniform circular motion and rotational motion of a rigid body; Laws of conservation of linear momentum and angular momentum; Fictitious forces, analysis of motion in non-inertial reference frames; Elastic and inelastic collisions; Center of mass; Static equilibrium; Elasticity and fracture; Dry friction, inclines


Work Energy and Power; Energy Transformation


Work, energy and power, kinetic energy, potential energy; Principle of energy conservation;  Examples of energy transformation (free fall in gravitational field);  




Gravitational field, Newton’s law of universal gravitation, gravitational potential, gravitational potential energy; Gravity Near the Earth’s Surface; Weightlessness and overload; Planet movement – Kepler’s laws, the Solar System – sizes and distances between astronomic objects; First and Second Cosmic Velocities


Electric Field and Electric Potential


Electric charge and Coulomb’s law; Visualization of static electric field - electrostatic field lines; Motion of charged particles in a static electric field; Electric potential; Electric current,  DC circuits, alternating current


Magnetic field


Magnet; Ampere’s law, magnetic field around a cylindrical current-carrying conductor, magnetic field in a solenoid; Motion of charged particles in a static magnetic field; Electromagnetic induction (Faraday’s law)


Atomic Structure and Physical Properties of Matter


Phases of matter (solid, liquid, and gaseous phase), density, specific gravity; Electrical properties of matter (electrical conductors, insulators, semiconductors); Magnetic properties of matter (diamagnetic, paramagnetic, and ferromagnetic materials)




Pressure in fluids; Pascal's Principle; Atmospheric pressure and gauge pressure; Buoyancy and Archimedes' principle; Fluid flow (equation of continuity)


Vibrations, Mechanical Waves, and Sound


Harmonic motion (simple harmonic oscillator); Models: mass on a spring, small swings of simple gravity pendulum; Period and frequency of harmonic oscillations; Transformation of energy in simple harmonic motion;  Mechanical waves; Longitudinal and transverse waves, wavelength, period, frequency, intensity, sound, sources of sound, sound intensity level, standing waves; Mechanical resonance; Interference of sound waves; Doppler effect


Introduction to Thermodynamics


Temperature, temperature scales; Thermal expansion; The ideal gas equation (Boyle’s, Charles’ and Gay-Lussac’s laws); Kinetic model of an ideal gas, internal energy, heat, specific heat, latent heat; Heat transfer (conduction, convection, radiation), calorimetry; The first law of thermodynamics, entropy and the second law of thermodynamics; Heat engines (Carnot cycle)


Geometric Optics, Electromagnetic Waves, Electromagnetic Spectrum,


The ray model of light, reflection in a plane and in a curved mirror (mirror equation), refraction of light (refractive index, Snell’s law, dispersion due to a prism, critical angle and total internal reflection), thin lenses (focus, focal length, optical power, magnification, image formation, thin lens equation, Lensmaker’s Formula); Electromagnetic spectrum, light as an electromagnetic wave (interference, diffraction, polarization), Wave–particle duality - Light as a beam of photons (photoelectric effect); Optical instruments; Human eye and sight



The Special Theory of Relativity


Postulates of the STR; Simultaneity; Time dilation; Length contraction; Relativistic momentum; Mass-energy equivalence (E = mc2); The ultimate speed; Relativistic addition of velocities


Bohr’s model of the hydrogen atom


Atomic energy states, emission and absorption spectra of hydrogen atom; de Broglie’s hypothesis – a matter waves as an example of wave–particle duality (applied to atoms)




Radioactive decay law, decay constant, half-life, nuclear radiation (α particles, β particles, γ radiation)




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