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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Why does the non-linearity of the string action prohibit stretching due to strong excitations?

From 't Hooft's String Theory lecture notes (paraphrased): To understand hadronic particles as excited states of strings, we have to study the dynamical properties of these strings, and then ...
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Time dependence of the Lagrangian of a free particle?

I am working through Landau's book on Classical Mechanics. I understand the logic and physics of isotropy and homogeneity of space-time behind the derivation of the Lagrangian for a free particle, but ...
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Help understanding what the Hamiltonian signifies for the action compared with the Euler-Lagrange equations for the Lagrangian?

Consider the Lagrangian for a simple harmonic oscillator \begin{equation} L (x,\dot{x}) = \frac{1}{2}m\dot{x}^2 - \frac{1}{2}kx^2 \end{equation} Obviously we have \begin{align} \frac{\partial ...
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The einbein in the action of a relativistic massive point particles [closed]

The action of a relativistic massive point particle moving in space-time is $$S=-m\int d\tau \sqrt{g _{\nu \rho}\frac{dx^{\nu}}{d\tau}\frac{dx^{\rho}}{d\tau}}$$ [with Minkowski sign convention ...
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78 views

Can we derive most fundamental laws from the Action Principle? [duplicate]

It is said in the book Fearful Symmetry - The Search for Beauty in Modern Physics that we can derive all basic laws in physics from a simple principle called Least Action Principle (although it may be ...
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Action principle for a faster-than-light point particle in special relativity [closed]

When we have principle of stationary action in the Newtonian physics, we can safely choose any smooth trajectory connecting the initial and the final points because any velocity $\textbf{v}$ is ...
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Alternative formulations of Lagrangians and Hamiltonian? [closed]

We have the Hamiltonian, a concept that was based on trajectories being used extensively in General Relativity, Electromagnetism, Quantum Mechanics, Classical Physics and lot more. Where we use the ...
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Does an on-shell symmetry necessarily change the Lagrangian by a total derivative?

This is a follow-up question to: Does a symmetry necessarily leave the action invariant? Qmechanic writes here: Here the word off-shell means that the Lagrangian eqs. of motion are not assumed to ...
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Does a symmetry necessarily leave the action invariant?

A symmetry maps a configuration with stationary action to another configuration with stationary action. However, does it necessarily preserve the value of the action exactly? It seems that it should ...
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“Find the Lagrangian of the theory”

I've heard a few of my professors throw around the term "finding the Lagrangian of a theory". What exactly is this referring to. From what I understand it seems that you determine invariances ...
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How to calculate the classical on-shell action for a harmonic oscillator? [closed]

So, short and sweet, I've been reading the path integrals book by Feynman and Hibbs, and one of the elementary problems they ask is to calculate the classical on-shell$^1$ action of a harmonic ...
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Trying to understand relativistic action of a massive point particle

I got badly lost in derivation of relativistic formulas for energy and momentum. I stumbled upon relativistic action as follows (which should explain relativistic motion of a classical particle): $$ ...
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What assumptions about the action do we make or give up in transitioning from classical mechanics to quantum mechanics to quantum field theory?

I am reading Quantum Field Theory for the Gifted Amateur and I feel I don't have a good grasp as to how the Lagrangian and the action are used differently in (1) classical mechanics (2) quantum ...
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Is the term “Lagrangian density” specific to spacetime?

Wikipedia talks about Lagrangian densities here. But they never actually say whether they're just applying the concept to spacetime or that Lagrangian density is the analog for Lagrangians but for ...
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What is the action of maxwellian electromagnetism?

What is the Lagrangian formulation of classical electromagnetism? Specifically I want to know the action in classical electromagnetism.
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Uses for Action from Lagrangian Mechanics

In my course on Lagrangian/Hamiltonian mechanics I noticed that we dealt with finding the stationary point of the change in action $ \delta S $ and we were never really doing anything with $ S $ ...
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Lagrangians with higher derivatives than Klein-Gordon [duplicate]

Has anyone ever tried to work with Lagrangians involving higher derivatives? The Klein-Gordon Lagrangian only involves $(\frac{\partial}{\partial t})^2$ and $\nabla^2$ terms, what about third and ...
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What is the action for a photon? [duplicate]

If I understand correctly, the action for a massive free particle is: $$ S = -mc^2 \int \mathrm{d}\tau = -mc \int \sqrt{g_{\mu\nu} \frac{\mathrm{d}x^\mu}{\mathrm{d}\lambda} ...
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Action and Reaction - Time lag

Is there a time lag between action and reaction ? If there isn't such a time lag, the reaction force must cancel the applying force although they act on different bodies. My second question is that, ...
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Euler-Lagrange equation (equation of motion) solution with hairy Lagrangian [closed]

I'm going through Zwiebach Chapter 6 on relativistic strings to try to solve a similar problem. I got all the way to my equation of motion \begin{eqnarray*} \delta S & = & [ p' \delta ...
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Geodesic Equation from variation: Is the squared lagrangian equivalent?

It is well known that geodesics on some manifold $M$, covered by some coordinates ${x_\mu}$, say with a Riemannian metric can be obtained by an action principle . Let $C$ be curve $\mathbb{R} \to M$, ...
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Classical action of the simple harmonic oscillator

I have been calculating the classical action of the harmonic oscillator, the problem I have is that I am only able to solve it if I set the integration limits of the action integral to be $t=T$ and ...
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Why is the value of the action integral in general relativity the same on all regions that are homologous?

In their famous paper Action integrals and partition functions in quantum gravity, Gibbons and Hawking argue that in order to avoid the singularity of a Schwarzschild black hole you can complexify ...
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That the gravitational mass equals to inertial mass can imply that only Einstein-Hilbert action is satisfied

I read Spacetime and Geometry by Sean Carroll. In p. 166 there is a comment that GR's action is nonlinear because if it is linear like the EM field, then graviton will not interact with each other, ...
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masslessness of Goldstone boson, Effective action, and functional-integral measure

I have difficulty in understanding the path-integral formalism of SSB, and that of Effective Action. Let's say a complex scalar field theory has the global $U(1)$ SSB, $$L(\phi)=(\partial^\mu ...
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Total vs partial time derivative of action

I'm following Ref. 1 in my reasoning, struggling with action as a function of time. Consider a Lagrangian $$L=\dot x^2-x^2.\tag1$$ Solving the corresponding equations of motion with initial ...
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Invariance of action $\Rightarrow$ covariance of field equations?

Invariance of action $\Rightarrow$ covariance of field equations? Is this statement true? I have only seen examples of this, like the invariance of Electromagnetic action under Lorentz ...
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Can action be unbounded from below?

While solving the problem in this question, I found cases where the numerical optimization failed, suspecting unboundedness of the function being minimized. The function approximates the action of the ...
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When is the principle of stationary action not the principle of least action?

I've only had a very brief introduction to Lagrangian mechanics. In a physics course I took last year, we briefly covered the principle of stationary action --- we looked at it, derived some equations ...
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How to show that $\partial S/\partial q=p$ without variation of $S$?

I'm trying to get some understanding in treating action $S$ as a function of coordinates. Landau and Lifshitz consider $\delta S$, getting $\delta S=p\delta q$, thus concluding that $$\frac{\partial ...
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Least action principle — numerical simulation strangeness

I'm trying to get some experience with the least action principle, and for this I chose a simple 1-dimensional problem of a particle moving in some field. The least action principle would then look ...
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283 views

Why should it be allowed to set the einbein to unity?

The Polyakov action for a massive free point particle with worldline $\gamma$ is given by $$ S[\gamma] = \frac{1}{2}\int_\gamma e \biggl(\frac{1}{e^2}\dot{x}^2 - m^2\biggr)\mathrm{d}\tau $$ where ...
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Action principles and covariant equations [duplicate]

Can every physically sound differential equation, that is covariant, deterministic etc. be derived by extremising a suitable action using a suitable lagrangian, that may be arbitary. Is this a ...
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318 views

Semiclassical limit of Quantum Mechanics

I find myself often puzzled with the different definitions one gives to "semiclassical limits" in the context of quantum mechanics, in other words limits that eventually turn quantum mechanics into ...
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Is it possible to have the principle of least action and multiple solutions?

This is possibly a silly question but when we derive the equations of motion of a particle using the principle of least action. We must assume that there is a single minimum (for a fixed choice of ...
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Hamilton's equations from the action with boundary conditions involving position and momentum

Generally, when you are given the action $$ S=\int_{t_1}^{t_2}\mathrm dt (p\dot q - \mathcal H )$$ the boundary conditions are $q(t_1)=q_1$ and $q(t_2)=q_2$. This is useful because to calculate ...
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Classical toy models of particles with intrinsic spin

Related to my question here (spacetime torsion, the spin tensor, and intrinsic spin in einstein cartan theory), I'd like to be able to put test particles on a manifold with non-zero torsion and see ...
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Boundary term in Einstein-Hilbert action

Why is the boundary term in the Einstein-Hilbert action, the Gibbons-Hawking-York term, generally "missing" in General Relativity courses, IMPORTANT from the variational viewpoint, geometrical setting ...
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First variation of the action in relativistic notation - Landau & Lifshitz “Classical theory of fields”

In Landau & Lifshitz's book, Classical theory of fields, the action for a free particle is defined as: $$\tag{8.1} S= \int ^b _a {-mc \ \text d s}=0,$$ where $$\text d s=c\,\text d ...
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Use of the term first order dependency

In a question I am doing it says: Show explicitly that the function $$y(t)=\frac{-gt^2}{2}+\epsilon t(t-1)$$ yields an action that has no first order dependency on $\epsilon$. Also my textbook ...
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The principle of stationary action?

In proving that the action $$S\equiv \int^{t_2}_{t_1}L(x, x',t)dt$$ has a has a stationary point $x_0$ that satisfies the following: $$\frac{d}{dt}(\frac{\partial L}{\partial x'_0})=\frac{\partial ...
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Dirac's remark that inspired Feynman when formulating path integral

When Feynman was trying to formulate path integral of quantum mechanics, he was inspired by Dirac's remark which roughly states that $e^{i\frac{S}{\hbar}}$corresponds to the transition amplitude, ...
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247 views

Hamilton's characteristic and principle functions and separability

Just hoping for some clarity regarding Hamilton's characteristic function (W). When we take a time independent Hamiltonian we can separate the Principle function (S) up into the characteristic ...
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Treating $\psi$ and $\psi^{*}$ as independent variables when varying the action [duplicate]

Consider the following Lagrangian (deinsity): $${\mathcal{L}} = \partial_{\mu}\psi^{*} \partial^{\mu}\psi - V(|\psi|^2) $$ In my notes it says that " it's easier (and equivalent) to treat $\psi$ and ...
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Energy and momentum as partial derivatives of on-shell action in field theory

According to L&L, if we fix the initial position of a particle at a given time and consider the on-shell action as a function of the final coordinates and time, $S(q_1, \ldots, q_n, t)$, then... ...
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288 views

Proof that total derivative is the only function that can be added to Lagrangian without changing the eom

So I was reading this: Invariance of Lagrange on addition of total time derivative of a function of coordiantes and time and while the answers for the first question are good, nobody gave much ...
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Coefficient matrix of quadratic Lagrangian

I've been studying path integrals from Weinbergs QToF vol 1. He says that when the $\mathcal{L_0}$ is quadratic in fields we can always write free term $I_0$ in the generalized quadratic form ...
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Why are D'Alembert's Principle and the Principle of Least Action Related?

Why do we get the same differential equations from both principles? Surely there is a fundamental connection between them? When written out, the two seem to have nothing in common. $$\sum _i ( ...
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Why does reparameterisation invariance lead to gauge-fixing?

In Becker, Becker and Schwarz, the point particle action is given in terms of an auxiliary field $e(\tau)$ as: \begin{align} \tilde{S}_0 = \frac{1}{2}\int \,d\tau \left(e^{-1}\dot{X}^2 - m^2e\right) ...
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Action and Action integral: Different kinds of variational principles

What are the difference between: the action $\int_{t_{1}}^{t_{2}}(L+H) dt$ that we use in the principle of least action, and the action integral $\int_{t_{1}}^{t_{2}}L dt$ that we use in ...