2017-2018 / PHYS3027-1

Elements of physics : mechanics


15h Th, 10h Pr

Number of credits

 Bachelor in computer science4 crédits 


Matthieu Verstraete

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the first semester, review in January

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 the basis 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.
At the end of each semester, a question and answer session is held, in view of preparing for exams. Timetables are established at the beginning of each year.

Mode of delivery (face-to-face ; distance-learning)

All courses and problem sessions are in face-to-face format.
Information concerning the organization of the lectures and practical sessions will be communicated through myUlg and the web site of the Faculty of Applied Sciences.

Recommended or required readings

All slides for ex cathedra classes are on MyULg
Reference textbook: Kane&Sternheim Physique (1986) Dunod ed. ISBN 2 10 007169 6
French translation by Ph. Ghosez, M. Hoebeke, et G. Llabres
Other references: * Physics Eugene Hecht
ISBN-10: 2744500186
* University Physics, Harris Benson ISBN-10: 0471006890
* Fundamentals of Physics, Halliday & Resnick ISBN-10: 0470469110

Assessment methods and criteria

January: 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.

Work placement(s)

Organizational remarks


Prof. Matthieu Verstraete Universite de Liège Institut de Physique, Bat. B5, 3/7 Allée du 6 aout, 17 B- 4000 Sart Tilman, Liège Belgium
Phone : +32 4 366 90 17 Fax : +32 4 366 36 29 Mail : matthieu.verstraete@ulg.ac.be
Teaching assistant: Antoine Dewandre Tel : +32 4 366 3636 Mail: antoine.dewandre@student.ulg.ac.be

Items online

PHYS3027 slides for all chapters
Slides for all chapters of the course on Mechanics

1 Uniform and uniformally accelerated motion

2 Motion in 2D

3 Newton's laws

4 Statics

5 Circular movement

6 Work Energy Power

7 Momentum