The action is the integral of the Lagrangian over time, or the integral of the Lagrangian Density over both time and space.

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Is there a Lagrangian for Electromagnetism in inhomogeneous media?

I am well aware of all the classic Lagrangians used in electromagnetism. Those that yield the Maxwell equations (sourceless or with sources) when considering $A^\mu$ as the dynamical variable. What I ...
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36 views

Harmonic oscillator with squared damping term

Does a solution exist for a harmonic oscillator with a squared damping term? $$m\ddot{u}+c\dot{u}^2+ku=0$$
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40 views

Action with self-dual field strength

It is said that writing down an action in presence of a self-dual field strength is subtle and not known till date. The familiar example people give is that of type IIB super-gravity which has a ...
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1answer
53 views

Equivalence between principle of least action and minimum potential energy

Are the principle of least action and the principle of minimum potential energy equivalent? How does one show that? Also, are Newton's laws of motion equivalent to the principle of least action? How ...
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14 views

Tidal Bulge on Earth due to Line of Action [duplicate]

I am in an intro to Statics course, and we briefly went over why tidal bulges occurred due to vectors in the line of action between the earth and the moon. I am confused because I do not understand ...
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44 views

Principle of Most Action? [duplicate]

In Landau-Lifshitz - Vol 1. Mechanics, right after the introduction of the principle of leas action, there is the following comment: It should be mentioned that this formulation ($S = ...
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1answer
62 views

Conceptual problem with action considered as function of endpoints

I am having some trouble with understanding why it makes sense to consider action in classical mechanics as function of endpoints $q_{initial}, \ q_{final}$ and endtimes $t_{initial}, \ t_{final}$. ...
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56 views

Functional Derivative of action

Consider the action of free Klein-Gordon theory $S[\phi]=\frac{1}{2}\displaystyle\int d^4y(\partial_\mu\phi(y)\partial^\mu\phi(y)-m^2\phi^2(y))$ Integrating by parts in the first term gives me ...
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When the equations of motion are not unique (eg. when they are given by eigenvectors), which will the free particle adhere to?

For this question I think it will be easier to express the usual equation describing the motion of a "free particle,"--viz. $g_{ij}\dot{x}^i\dot{x}^j$--in matrix form as follows: ...
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43 views

How does satisfying the Euler-Lagrange equation put a Classical Path on-shell?

I am thinking of what the Euler-Lagrange equation, $$ \frac{d}{dt}\left(\frac{\partial L}{\partial \dot{x}}\right) - \frac{\partial L}{\partial x} = 0 $$ specifically represents in satisfying the ...
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Principle of least action: $\frac{d S_{cl}}{dt_b} = \frac{\partial S_{cl}}{\partial t_b} + \frac{\partial S_{cl}}{\partial x_b}\dot{x}_b$

Question I cannot see how I can obtain the yellow highlighted section on the RHS from that of the LHS. The following equation can be found in both my lecture notes(*1) (page 9, equation 2.7) and is ...
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65 views

Are the generalized coordinates in Lagrangian mechanics really independent?

In Goldstein's Classical Mechanics, Chapter 2.3: Derivation of Lagrange's Equations From Hamilton's Principle part of the derivation involves each of the generalized coordinates being independent. $$ ...
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How to describe time-shifts in Noether's theorem in Hamiltonian formalism

As was described in, for example, this post, one can formulate Noether's Theorem also in Hamiltonian Mechanics. Symmetries are then represented by vector fields generated by observables whose Poisson ...
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1answer
39 views

With radian as a unit, should action and angular momentum have the different units?

If one accepts radian as a fundamental unit, does it make sense that action and angular momentum have units differing in radian to the power of one? The same question applies for energy and torque. ...
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1answer
145 views

Is there a Maupertuis principle for General Relativity?

The motion of a point particle in classical mechanics is given by Newton's equation, $\mathbf{F}=m\mathbf{a}$. Suppose all forces considered are conservative and we have a constant total energy $h$. ...
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1answer
85 views

How to proceed (Tough Problem) [closed]

The problem that I am considering is to find the shortest path (or geodesic) on a surface with the equation $z=f(x,y)$. The path is parameterized by $s$ so that the path goes from ...
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184 views

Why is the action dimensionless in natural units?

As I understand it, a natural system of units is one in which the numerical values of $c$ and $\hbar$ are unity, i.e. $c=\hbar =1$. What I find confusing is that they are still dimensionful, i.e. ...
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1answer
45 views

How to derive the true spatial paths (orbits) from the Jacobi-Maupertuis condition

How can differential equations describing a physical object's true spatial paths (orbits) be derived from the time-independent Jacobi-Maupertuis principle of least action? According to this, it is ...
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34 views

Why do we sum relativistic intervals in relativistic action of a massive point-particle, and not a function from it?

Relativistic action as follows (which should explain relativistic motion of a classical particle): $$ S = C \Delta s=C\int ds $$ Where $C$ is some constant and $\Delta s$ is relativistic interval. ...
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Variations of actions of (lie algebra valued) differential forms

I have always found it a bit difficult to understand the variation of an action written in differential form language. For example, take the action $$\int tr A\wedge A\wedge A$$ where $A=A_\mu ...
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49 views

How does GR determine the topology of spacetime? [duplicate]

The crux of GR is the action $$ S=\int _\mathcal M d^n x \sqrt{|g|}\,R $$ Varying this and setting $\delta S=0$ gives you the Einstein field equations. However, that only determines the metric, not ...
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Action of a particle travelling in Minkowski space [closed]

The action of a particle moving in Minkowski space [signature $(-+++)$] is given by $$S=-m \int dt\sqrt{-\eta_{\mu\nu}(X)\dot{x}^\mu \dot{x}^\nu}$$ Inserting in the Metric I get $$S=-m\int dt ...
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165 views

The cosmological constant as a Lagrange multiplier?

The cosmological constant $\Lambda$ can be introduced into the gravitational action like this : \begin{equation} S = \frac{1}{2 \kappa} \int_{\Omega} (R - 2 \Lambda) \sqrt{-g} \; d^4 x + \text{matter ...
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33 views

Gibbons-Hawking Variation

I know there already exist some questions about this and some very good answers. However, I am still having trouble understanding one part of the calculation. The GHY term is given by ...
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5answers
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Is boundary well defined if variation of metric don't vanish on the boundary?

Suppose that you want to calculate the variation $\delta S$ of an action induced by some arbitrary variation $\delta g_{\mu \nu}$ of the spacetime metric : \begin{equation} S = \int_{\Omega} ...
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Origin of Hamilton's variational principle [duplicate]

My question is what is the theoretical origin of Hamilton's principle. I mean is there any rigorous mathematical proof of this principle from some more basic principles?
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4answers
223 views

What are the boundary conditions associated to this lagrangian?

Suppose that $L(q^i, \dot{q}^i)$ is a standard and well behaved lagrangian associated to some Dirichlet boundary conditions : $q^i(t_1) = q_1^i$ and $q^i(t_2) = q_2^i$. Now I have this new lagrangian ...
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1answer
106 views

Boundary conditions of fields from the stationary action principle

First principle of stationary action Consider a real Klein-Gordon scalar field $\phi$ living in a $D$ dimensional flat spacetime. The field is considered off shell (the on shell condition is defined ...
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56 views

Is the law of maximum entropy production the same as principle of least action?

I just have read about the law of maximum entropy production. Someone has idolized it enough to make an whole website just for it: http://www.lawofmaximumentropyproduction.com/ A system will ...
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108 views

Why can't we fix the metric and its derivatives at boundary, with the variational method?

In general relativity and for its Einstein-Hilbert action, we usually ask that the metric variations $\delta g_{\mu \nu}$ cancel on the boundary $\partial \, \Omega$ of some region $\Omega$ of the ...
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185 views

Variation of the Einstein-Hilbert action in D dimensions without the Gibbons-Hawking-York term

Consider the standard Einstein-Hilbert action in $D \ne 2$ dimensions spacetimes : \begin{equation} S_{EH} = \frac{1}{2 \kappa} \int_{\Omega} R \; \sqrt{- g} \; d^D x, \end{equation} where $\Omega$ is ...
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Action for solution of general nth order differential equation [duplicate]

Suppose I want to find solution to a general nth order differential equation. (If I am right about the logic then) one might say that the solution $y\equiv y(x)$ is that function for which the ...
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Proof of Hamilton's principle [duplicate]

Is there a anything like a proof of Hamilton's principle? Where would I find it?
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33 views

Action functional of Born-Infeld model

I have a Born-Infeld action functional like this $$I[A,\phi]~=~\int b^2(\sqrt{1+(|\bigtriangledown\times A|^2)/b^2}-1)+|D_A\phi|^2 + b^2(1-\sqrt{(1-|\phi|^2)^2/b^2} ).$$ Have any books or notes talk ...
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What does it mean for an action to be defined “on-shell”?

Some actions like 11D supergravity are defined "on-shell". What does this mean exactly? Can you give me an example? Say for example the Klein-Gordon action. Can this be defined on-shell too?
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146 views

Acoustical wave equation from Hamilton's principle

It is common to show the features and power of the Hamilton's principle by deriving the equation of vibrating string, membrane etc. using this principle. But I have never seen that used for deriving ...
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1answer
34 views

Behaviour of action with respect to time

I was wondering if it was possible to say something general on the behaviour of the action : $$ S[x(\tau)]=\int_0^T L(x,\frac{dx}{d\tau},t) dt $$ (where $x(\tau)$ defines a trajectory, with certain ...
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63 views

What is $\mathcal{L}_M$?

Usually we derive the Einstein field equation in vacuum starting from E-H action $$S= \int{\sqrt{-g}d^4x(\frac{c^4}{16\pi G})R}.$$ But in case we wanted to get ...
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Invariance under local diffeomorphisms

In the context of the Polyakov action, the action for a relativistic point particle $$ S_P = \frac{1}{2} \int \mathrm{d}\tau \, e(\tau) \left(\frac{1}{e^2(\tau)}\left(\frac{\mathrm{d} ...
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Why does overall action need to have an extremum?

Quoting from Landau's and Lifshitz' Mechanics : The integral ${\int\limits_{t_1}^{t_2}}L(q, \dot{q},t)\,dt$ for the entire path must have an extremum, but not necessarily a minimum. This, ...
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1answer
26 views

Function for which action is the minimum

On page 2 of "Mechanics" Landau & Lifshitz say that $q=q(t)$ is a function for which action is a minimum. Before this they say that at times $t_1$ and $t_2$, the system occupies coordinates ...
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Derivative of the action integral [closed]

I need to find the partial derivative of the action $S$ with respect to the generalized coordinate $q(t_f)$ and according to my textbook, it should equal the generalized momentum $p(t_f)$. I ...
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51 views

Covariant form of non-relativistic free particle

I have two questions about the action of free particle. $$S=\int dt~\frac{m}{2}~(\frac{d \vec{x} }{dt})^2 \tag{1}$$ The Covariant form is: (assume: $m=1$) $$S=\int d\tau ...
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Action max, min, or saddle?

It is well known that $\delta S = 0$ lays the foundation for variational mechanics. But I am confused as to whether or not this S is a minimum, a maximum, or a saddle point. Some books address this ...
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Derivation of Euler-Lagrange equations in Landau's and Lifshitz's “Mechanics”

There's an integral ${\int\limits_{t_1}^{t_2}}(\frac{\partial{L}}{\partial{q}}{\delta}q+\frac{\partial{L}}{\partial{v}}{\delta}v)dt=0$. [1.] $ {\delta}v={\frac{d{\delta}q}{dt}}$ [2.] I should get $ ...
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Lagrangians not related via a total time derivative lead to same Noether symmetries?

Having answered my initial two questions (v1), I now consider a third possibility. Consider two Lagrangians that both lead to equivalent equations of motion. Suppose that they are not related via a ...
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65 views

Maxwell and Bianchi equations

We frequently see: A certain action and then we are asked to solve for Bianchi identity and Maxwell equation. I have often solved for them but I never knew what is the difference between the two? In ...
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299 views

Physical meaning of the Lagrangian function [duplicate]

In Lagrangian mechanics, the function $L=T-V$, called Lagrangian, is introduced, where $T$ is the kinetic energy and $V$ the potential one. I was wondering: is there any reason for this quantity to ...
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Bulk action - Can a brane velocity be defined?

a) If a brane action in a bulk is defined, in that case, that a brane is modelwise moving through a bulk, how is this ratio defined? Is this a regular "velocity" in that meaning, that space is being ...
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321 views

Goldstein's derivation of the 'principle of least action'

I want make an punctual question ands it's about The derivation of the expression $$ \Delta\int_{t_1}^{t_2} Ldt=L(t_2)\Delta t_2-L(t_1)\Delta t_1 + \int_{t_1}^{t_2} \delta L dt. \tag{8.74}$$ You can ...