This course is part of the programme
Bachelor's programme in Environment (first cycle)

Objectives and competences

Students are competent to use basic physical quantities, laws and concepts from the field of mechanics, thermodynamics, electromagnetism, geometrical and wave optics, basics quantum mechanics, atomic and nuclear physics to describe and explain different physical phenomena in nature or in technological processes and measuring techniques. They know how to use conservation laws for energy, momentum, electric charge and mass. They can solve basic physical problems with mathematical tools.


Knowledge of secondary school mathematics.


The following topics from the field of classical and modern physics are covered:
physical quantities, measuring errors and propagation of errors, laws of motion, work and energy, conservation of energy and momentum, elastomechanics, oscillatory motion, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics (temperature, transport of heat, first and second law of thermodynamics), electricity and magnetism (electric and magnetic field, electric current, circuits, induction), EM waves and mechanic waves (sound and light), geometrical and wave optics, basics of quantum mechanics, wave properties of particles, photons, interaction of EM waves with matter, absorption, spontaneous and stimulated emission of light, and introduction to atomic and nuclear physics.

Intended learning outcomes

nowledge and understanding:
Students understand and can explain basic physical laws from the field of mechanics of rigid bodies and fluids, elastomechanics and oscillatory motion, thermodynamics, temperature, work, heat, internal energy and entropy of the system,
Electromagnetism (including electric and magnetic field, electric charges and currents and forces between them, electric potential energy and electric potential, circuits, Kirchhoff’s laws, Joule’s heat, induction, behaviour of matter in electric and magnetic field), geometrical and wave optics, quantum mechanics, atomic and nuclear physics.
Students can use conservation laws of mass, energy, momentum, electric charge. They understand and can describe the properties of EM and mechanic waves (particularly light and sound), characteristics of sinusoidal waves, their propagation, superposition, interference, diffraction, refraction, standing waves, transfer of energy with waves. Students can explain the construction of images with spherical lenses and mirrors, the interference in thin films, diffraction grating, total reflection and the polarisation of light. They understand the concepts of quantum mechanics, double nature of light and elementary particles. They can explain electronic structure of atoms,and the interaction of EM waves with electrons (absorption and emission of photons)

Through exercises, students learn mathematical tools to quantitatively describe the physical laws and relations between different physical quantities. They can determine measuring errors and take into account propagation of errors in basic mathematical calculations with physical quantities.


Openly licensed textbooks at OpenStax, Rice University, Huston Texas, USA

Equivalent alternative textbooks:

  • D. Halliday, R. Resnick, J. Walker: Fundamentals of Physics, John Willey & Sons, NY, 2012. Catalogue
  • R. A. Serway, J.W. Jewett, Physics for scientists and egineers with modern physics, Saunders college publising, Thomson Learning, UK, 2012. Catalogue E-version
  • P. A. Tipler, G. P. Mosca, Physics for scientists and engineers, W. H. Freeman and Company, New York, 2004. Catalogue E-version
  • R. Kladnik: Visokošolska fizika (1. – 3. del), DZS, Ljubljana 1985 - 1989.) Catalogue2 Catalogue3
  • R. Kladnik, H. Šolinc: Zbirka fizikalnih problemov z rešitvami (1. in 2. del). Catalogue1 Catalogue2
  • I. Arčon, Vprašanja in naloge za preverjanje znanja iz fizike, Založba UNG, 2004 Catalogue Publisher of UNG
  • I. Arčon, Multimedia study material (videolectures, slides and student homeworks) in the MiTeam e-classroom


Written examination (30 %), oral examination (70 %). Written examination can be performed also during the year in the form of written colloquia. Positive result achieved in the written part of the examination is a prerequisite for oral examination.

Lecturer's references

Prof. dr. Iztok Arčon is full professor for the field of physics, employed at the University of Nova Gorica, Laboratory for quantum optics, holding a position of the dean of Grauate school.
His main research field is analysis of atomic and molecular structure of new functional materials (different catalysts and photocatalysts, cathode materials for Li-ion, Li-sulphur and Mg-sulphur batteries, ferroelectric and ferromagnetic ceramics, …) and analysis of environmental pollution (soil, water and plants), with X-ray absorption spectroscopy with synchrotron radiation (methods XANES, EXAFS), In addition, he uses synchrotron radiation for experimental study of multielectron photoexcitations in free and bound atoms, to provide information on collective motion of electrons in the atomic system, and exact atomic absorption background in EXAFS spectra. He obtained with coworkers over sixty research projects at different European synchrotron radiation laboratories (PETRA III at DESY, Hamburg; Elettra, Trieste; ESRF, Grenoble; Alba in Barcelona; Soleil, and previously Lure, Paris), and performed experiments with advanced sychrotron radiation techniques. Until 2022 he published more than 200 scientific papers in reviews with high impact factor and his work is highly cited (over 3500 citations). His Hirsch index is 30.
He received The Jožef Stefan Golden Emblem Prize Award in 1996 for his PhD thesis research work. In 2006 he was awarded the national “Zois award” for outstanding achievements in the field of X-ray absorption spectroscopy, and in 2020 he received Pregl Award of the National institute of Chemistry for Exceptional Achievements in the field of chemistry and related disciplines.

Selected publications:

  1. ZABILSKY, Maxim, ARČON, Iztok, DJINOVIĆ, Petar, TCHERNYCHOVA, Elena, PINTAR, Albin. In-situ XAS study of catalytic N2ON2O decomposition over CuO/CeO2CuO/CeO2 catalysts. ChemCatChem. 2021, vol. 13, iss. 7, str. 1814-1823,. DOI: 10.1002/cctc.202001829.

  2. LUIN, Uroš, ARČON, Iztok, VALANT, Matjaž. Structure and population of complex ionic species in FeCl2FeCl2 aqueous solution by X-ray absorption spectroscopy. Molecules. Feb. 2022, vol. 27, iss. 3, str. 1-13, ilustr. ISSN 1420-3049. DOI: 10.3390/molecules27030642.

  3. MAVER, Ksenija, ARČON, Iztok, FANETTI, Mattia, AL JITAN, Samar, PALMISANO, Giovanni, VALANT, Matjaž, LAVRENČIČ ŠTANGAR, Urška. Improved photocatalytic activity of SnO2SnO2-TiO2TiO2 nanocomposite thin films prepared by low-temperature sol-gel method. Catalysis today.. DOI: 10.1016/j.cattod.2021.06.018

  4. KODRE, Alojz, ARČON, Iztok, PADEŽNIK GOMILŠEK, Jana. Photoexcitation processes in atoms. V: CHANTLER, C. T. (ur.). International tables for crystallography. Volume I, X-ray absorption spectroscopy and related techniques. 1st ed. Bognor Regis; Weinheim; Indianapolis: Wiley. 2021, str. 1-5, International tables for crystallography. ISBN 978-1-119-43394-1. ISSN 1574-8707. DOI: 10.1107/S1574870720003511.

  5. POTISEK, Mateja, LIKAR, Matevž, VOGEL-MIKUŠ, Katarina, ARČON, Iztok, GRDADOLNIK, Jože, REGVAR, Marjana. 1,8-dihydroxy naphthalene (DHN) - melanin confers tolerance to cadmium in isolates of melanised dark septate endophytes. Ecotoxicology and environmental safety. 2021, vol. 222, str. 1-9. ISSN 0147-6513. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2021.112493.

  6. PONGRAC, Paula, ARČON, Iztok, CASTILLO MICHEL, Hiram, VOGEL-MIKUŠ, Katarina. Mineral element composition in grain of awned and awnletted wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) cultivars : tissue-specific iron speciation and phytate and non-phytate ligand ratio. Plants, ISSN 2223-7747, 2020, vol. 9, no. 1, str. 79-1-97-14, doi: 10.3390/plants9010079.

  7. SCAFURI, Antonio, BERTHELOT, Romain, PIRNAT, Klemen, VIŽINTIN, Alen, BITENC, Jan, AQUILANTI, Giuliana, FOIX, Dominique, DEDRYVÈRE, Rémi, ARČON, Iztok, DOMINKO, Robert, STIEVANO, Lorenzo. Spectroscopic insights into the electrochemical mechanism of rechargeable calcium/sulfur batteries. Chemistry of materials. 13 Oct. 2020, vol. 32, no. 19, str. 8266-8275, DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.0c02074.