2023-2024 / PHYS3027-1

Elements of physics : mechanics


15h Th, 10h Pr

Number of credits

 Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Computer Science4 crédits 



Jérémy Brisbois

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the first semester, review in January


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

This course aims to give students an understanding of the fundamental laws which govern the physical phenomena which surround us: The laws of classical mechanics, which give a systematic, mathematic, and universal approach to problems (in physics or elsewhere)

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

One central outcome is to learn to model processes in a mathematical, algorithmic, and efficient manner.
The second step is to solve problems by reasoning either in:

  • a reductionist fashion (e.g. division of a system into components and integration of the equations of motion) or
  • a global fashion (using conservation laws, e.g. of energy).
Physics concepts underlie many algorithms and data structures used in computer science.
The practical use of concepts seen in the Math class will allow you to better assimilate and see their applications.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

Basic mathematics, including trigonometry, vectors, projections and geometry... Refreshers are organized during classes.
No prerequisite course module.

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

10 hours of practical sessions divided as 5 x 2 hours of problem questions on point and solid object mechanics.

A mid-term test will be organized beginning of November, to give each student a reference point for her/his own level of understanding, and the difficulty of the exam in January. The test will be followed by a correction by the teaching assistant, with explanations of important points and difficulties - these remedial sessions are obligatory for students whose grade is lower than 8/20.

As a complementary resource to the remedial sessions organized alongside the course, the Physics MOOC, developed at ULiège and covering basic mechanics, is an additional interesting resource for students encountering difficulties in this subject. The MOOC is available for free, during the whole academic year. One nevertheless has to register on the FUN-MOOC platform to access it.

The Physics MOOC will be counted as a bonus (fully optional) for the course on Mechanics: a certificate of completion of the MOOC (min 50% of the points) will give a bonus towards the final grade.

Link: https://www.fun-mooc.fr/fr/cours/physique-mecanique-bien-entamer-lenseignement-superieur/

At the end of each semester, a question and answer session is held, in view of preparing for exams.

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

Face-to-face course

Additional information:

All courses and problem sessions are in face-to-face format. 

Depending on the risk code (orange or red) the course will go fully remote with podcasts followed by question and answer sessions online.

Information concerning the organization of the lectures and practical sessions will be communicated through ecampus, myULiège and the web site of the Faculty of Applied Sciences.

Recommended or required readings

All slides for ex cathedra classes are on ecampus

Reference textbook: Kane & Sternheim Physics 2nd edition (1994) Wiley ISBN-13 978-0471522782

NB: this book is used by many other sections as well - I recommend you find second hand copies (other sections include medical doctors, veterinarians, geology, geography, biology...)

Other references:
* Physics Eugene Hecht
ISBN-10: 2744500186

* University Physics, Harris Benson
ISBN-10: 0471006890

* Fundamentals of Physics, Halliday & Resnick
ISBN-10: 0470469110

Exam(s) in session

Any session

- In-person

written exam ( multiple-choice questionnaire, open-ended questions )

Out-of-session test(s)

Other : Completion of the Physics MOOC gives a bonus of 1/20

Additional information:

January: written exam on mechanics containing

  • 1 multiple choice section with short questions on all of the material
  • open questions on the theory and concepts seen in class
  • problem questions similar to those in the book by Kane and Sternheim, and in the problem sets with the TA
The final grade incorporates the results of a test end of October or beginning of November, and an eventual bonus coming from completing the MOOC. The MOOC must be completed before the first exam session, with a user name corresponding to the student's uXXXXXX number, and following the guidelines provided in class.

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course


Matthieu Verstraete
Université de Liège
Département de Physique, Bât. B5a, 4/50

Allée du 6 Août, 19
B- 4000 Sart Tilman, Liège

Phone : +32 4 366 90 17
Mail : matthieu.verstraete@uliege.be

Teaching assistant:
Guillaume Allemand
Phone : +32 4 366 21 25
Mail: Guillaume.Allemand@uliege.be

Association of one or more MOOCs

The MOOC entitled 'Physique- Mécanique : bien entamer l'enseignement supérieur (S2)' is associated with this course.

Additional information:

See above: the MOOC is optional and complementary to the other course material, but gives a bonus if you obtain a certificate of completion.