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Module Specifications

Archived Version 2008 - 2009

Module Title Basic Sciences for Engineering
Module Code FSH104
School Faculty of Science

Online Module Resources

Module Co-ordinatorDr Noel MurphyOffice NumberS350
Level 2 Credit Rating 10
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Module Aims
  • To give the student an introduction to the main concepts in basic physics as required in mechanics, including units and measurements, vectors, kinematics and the physical quantities of displacement, velocity & acceleration, Newton’s laws and rotational motion
  • To develop an understanding of the basic concepts of chemistry, including the structure of atoms, electronic configuration, and orbital shapes.
  • To understand the relationship between electronic configuration and chemical properties.
  • To develop an appreciation of the chemical bond, both ionic and covalent.· To provide the students with a basic grounding in the structure and organisation of biological cells relevant to further studies and applications in mechanical and electronic engineering.
  • To introduce students to cellular processes and key componenets, including their roles in complex organisms.
  • To introduce concepts of control and signalling in biological organisms.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, the student will be able to

  • Understand and describe/discuss the main concepts in basic physics as required in mechanics, including units and measurements, vectors, kinematics and the physical quantities of displacement, velocity & acceleration, Newton’s laws and rotational motion
  • Confidently use basic calculus (mainly differentiation) in tackling appropriate aspects of mechanics problems
  • Derive the electronic structure of the elements.
  • Predict the chemical and physical properties of the elements based on their position in the periodic table.
  • Understand the nature of the chemical bond. · Estimate the bond-order for simple diatomic molecules.
  • Describe aspects of cell and organism structure and function relevant to engineering applications.
  • Indicate the scientific specialists relevant to the solution of an interdisciplinary problem outside the technology area of their own programme.
  • Confidently tackle problems in Newtonian Mechanics
  • Apply the knowledge gained from their physics classes to other aspects of their engineering programme

Indicative Time Allowances
Independent Learning Time 150

Total 150
Assume that a 10 credit module load represents approximately 150 hours' work, which includes all teaching, in-course assignments, laboratory work or other specialised training and an estimated private learning time associated with the module.

Indicative Syllabus


Introduction, including recommended texts (w1), What is science/the scientific method? The relationship between physics, chemistry and biology (w1), Units, measurement, standards and measurment reliability (w2), Linear motion (kinematics) (w3), Newton''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''s Laws (w4 & w5), Work, Energy and conservation Laws (w6 &w7), Momentum and Impulse (w8), Rotational motion (w9 & w10), Equilibrium and elasticity (w11)Beyond classical mechanics to quantum ideas (w12).


Introduction to the structure of the atom from ancient ideas to modern quantum theory. Concept of orbitals to describe the behaviour of electrons. Assignment of electronic configurations to particular elements. Long form of the periodic table of the elements. Nature of the chemical bond, from ionic through to covalent. How modern quantum chemical approaches can provide ways of predicting the strength of chemical bonds.

Life Sciences for Engineers:

The Cell: unit structure and systems, prokaryotes vs. eukaryotes, the cell factory. (Week 1, CF)Approaches to Studying Heredity: Individual; Family; Population; EvolutionIntroduction to Chromosomes (Karyotyping); Genes; DNA and the Genetic Code How gene activity is regulated; Cell differentiation & tissue specificity; DollyIntroduction to mutation; Human Genome Project - developments & applications. (Week 2, TR)Protein structure/ function, examples (insulin, hemoglobin), biological catalysis. (Week 3, CF)Carbohydrates/ Lipids: sugars, glycoproteins, lipid classes, biological membranes. (Week 4, CF)Extracellular matrix: composition, roles, diseases. Cell division and cell cycle. (Week 5, CF)Overview of cell signalling processes. (Week 8, CF)Basic biology of cancer. (Week 10, CF)The Physics component and the Chemistry component are assessed by a combination of end of semester exam and continuous assessment. The Life Sciences component is entirely assessed through continuous assessment.

Continuous Assessment50% Examination Weight50%
Indicative Reading List
The Cell: a molecular approach/ Geoffrey M. Cooper, Robert E. Hausman, 3rd ed., 2004, ASM Press/ Sinauer Assocs

Reference texts:

University Physics by Young and Freedman, 11th edition

 Note. This is an indicative assessment structure. Details may change as circumstances demand, in which case prior notice will be given. 
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