Basic Course in Mechanics and Thermodynamics

Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content


The course is tailored to the needs of students in other fields of science than physics, mathematics or geophysics. The course gives an overview and understanding of basic physics, with moderate use of mathematical formalism.


The course gives a quick introduction to mechanics and thermodynamics: Motion, force, energy and power, rotation, temperature and heat, the laws of thermodynamics, oscillations, waves and sound.



Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course the student should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:



The student has gained knowledge about

  • mechanics (kinematics and dynamics) and rotation linear/circular motion of simple objects and fluids
  • thermodynamics and heat transport, work, change in temperature and internal energy
  • harmonic motion, elasticity, waves, sound and interference



The student can solve problems using

  • kinematic equations in two dimensions, Newton¿s laws, circular motion, work and energy considerations, impulse and momentum, rotation and simple fluid dynamics
  • thermal expansion, heat conduction, Stefan-Boltzmann radiation law, the ideal gas law, kinetic gas theory, the laws of thermodynamics and Carnot¿s principle
  • ideal springs, simple harmonic motion, sound speed in gasses/fluids/solids, the Doppler effect, interference and standing waves


General competence

The student has gained

  • increased ability for reflection and insight in how physics connects cause and effect for simple processes in nature
  • knowledge of value for other fields of the natural sciences
  • training in systematic work and how to analyse complex problems
Grading Scale
The grading scale used is A to F. Grade A is the highest passing grade in the grading scale, grade F is a fail.