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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Action for $p-p'$ strings (equation 13.5.21 in Polchinski's textbook)

This action reads $$S=-\frac{1}{4g_{D9}^2}\int d^{10}x F_{MN} F^{MN}-\frac{1}{4g_{D5}^2}\int d^{6}x F'_{MN} F'^{MN}- \int d^6 x \left[ D_{\mu} \chi^{\dagger} D^{\mu} \chi + ...
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Intuition for actions written as integrals over spacetime

Right now I'm simply looking for an intuitive explaination of actions that integrate over a 4-volume element, $d^4x$ rather than a parameter say $\lambda$. More specifically I'm well versed in action ...
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Getting the Lagrangian from the action in curved spacetime

Suppose I have this action: $$ S = \int \mathrm d^4 x\sqrt{-g}\times \text{something}$$ where $g$ is the determinant of the metric. Should I take the Lagrangian to be: $$ \mathcal L = \sqrt{-g} ...
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54 views

Can I applicate the law of action and reaction on energy?

It is clear that if you push on some object, there is reaction of the same force. But is it the same energy? Thanks a lot.
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93 views

How do I obtain the Lagrangian in standard for using action? [closed]

I have action as shown below $$S=\int \mathrm{d}t \int \mathrm{d}x^3 \bar\psi\left(i\partial_t\psi +\frac1{2m}\bar\nabla^2\psi-V(x)\psi\right)$$ How do I manipulate it to obtain the Lagrangian ...
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100 views

Normal to the Hypersurfaces

I am trying to understand the derivation of the Hilbert-Einstein action. However it requires a knowledge about hyper-surfaces for the boundaries of the integrals and also about the normal to the ...
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350 views

Does the action and Lagrangian have identical symmetries and conserved quantities?

From the book Introduction to Classical Mechanics With Problems and Solutions by David Morin, page 236 states: Noether's Theorem: For each symmetry of the Lagrangian, there is a conserved ...
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How Hamilton's Principle was found?

Hamilton's principle states that the actual path a particle follows from points $p_1$ and $p_2$ in the configuration space between times $t_1$ and $t_2$ is such that the integral $$S = ...
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114 views

Does action really have to be Lorentz-invariant in SR?

From Landau & Lifshitz The Classical Theory Of Fields it is said: To determine the action integral for a free material particle (a particle not under the influence of any external force), we ...
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107 views

Differential Operators in Polyakov Action

What do the differential operators in the Polyakov action mean? How does one derive the Polyakov action and treat the differential operators?
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136 views

is action integral Lorentz invariant?

I need to find the Lagrangian for charged particles in EM fields considering relativistic effects. Is action integral Lorentz invariant. $$A = \int_{t_1}^{t_2} L (q_i, \dot q_i, t) dt $$ According ...
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145 views

Can't understand the principle of least action [closed]

I tried many hours to understand the principle of least action, and those hours become days... and I still didn't understand that principle/ and how it relates to Newtonian mechanics? Could someone ...
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66 views

Question about “different” equations of motion in dependence of indices

Let's have the action $$ S = \int (\partial_{\mu}h^{\mu \sigma}\partial^{\nu}h_{\nu \sigma} - \Lambda h^{\mu \nu}T_{\mu \nu}) d^{4}x. $$ For definiteness, $$ h_{\mu \nu} = h_{\nu \mu} , \quad T_{\mu ...
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195 views

Curved spacetime point particle Lagrangian density

This is probably trivially related to the question: Action for a point particle in a curved spacetime , but am a bit unsure how to write it as a Lagrangian density. In curved spacetime the action is ...
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1answer
238 views

Derivation of Noether's theorem - A problem with physical significance

My question is about the field theoretic version of Noether's theorem. I am deeply troubled by one of the hypotheses of the theorem. As it is the standard textbook for Lagrange mechanics, I'll follow ...
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136 views

Classical electrodynamics formulated in terms of forces

The Newton's law of universal gravitation is described in terms of a force, which is produced by an action at a distance. It also can be described using the concept of a field, and that would be an ...
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76 views

Why we can set variations for the metric and its derivatives to zero at infinity?

This question is the continuation of the following one. I still don't understand why $(1)$ may be set to zero. This refers to the zero value variations of metric and its derivatives on the infinitely ...
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166 views

Why can we assume independent variables when using Lagrange multipliers in nonholonomic systems?

I'm studying from Goldstein's Classical Mechanics. In section 2.4, he discusses nonholonomic systems. We assume that the constraints can be put in the form $f_\alpha(q, \dot{q}, t) =0$, $\alpha = 1 ...
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130 views

Hamilton-Jacobi formalism and on-shell actions

My question is essentially how to extract the canonical momentum out of an on-shell action. The Hamilton-Jacobi formalism tells us that Hamilton's principal function is the on-shell action, which ...
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473 views

Is Einstein-Hilbert action the unique action whose variation gives Einstein's field equations?

I know that scaling the action with a non-zero multiplicative constant, or adding a total divergence term to the Lagrangian density do not change the Euler-Lagrange equations, cf. e.g. this ...
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How can a transversality condition be invoked to reduce the Euler-Lagrange equation?

I asked this question regarding the Euler-Lagrange equation at MSE and have gotten no response. I will ask it here too. I think I might have more luck here since the E-L equation is at the core of ...
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The relation between the action of tunneling and the energy

In the semi-classical physics, the probability of the penetration through a barrier is given by $$ p \sim \exp \left( - A_{0} (E) \right), $$ where $A_0$ is the imaginary part of the action and $E$ ...
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225 views

Detailing why a scalar gravity theory predicts no bending of light [closed]

I want to understand in technical detail why a particular scalar theory for gravity predicts no bending of light. It is left as a question, either in "Gravitation" by Misner, Thorne, and Wheeler, ...
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1answer
656 views

How to find the Stress-Energy tensor?

I am a bit at loss about how to proceed to find the stress-energy tensor given some distribution of matter. The Wikipedia page gives some examples, and some (inequivalent) definitions for it: Using ...
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83 views

Finding the EOM for a charged relativistic particle

For an exercise sheet of a course in general relativity I'm asked to derive the equations of motion for a charged particle in an EM-field given by a potential $A^\mu$. I am give the action: $$S = ...
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Derivation of the Polyakov Action

As is usually done when first presenting string theory, the Nambu-Goto Action, $$ S_{\text{NG}}:=-T\int d\tau d\sigma \sqrt{-g} $$ ($g:=\det (g_{\alpha \beta})$ is the induced metric on the ...
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177 views

Expansion of action in general relativity?

I am reading a lot about GR lately (because of thesis), and one thing bothers me, and I'm not finding a direct answer to it. For instance in one article, the author says that they are expanding ...
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356 views

Euler's equations of rigid body motion from least action principle

I would like to derive Euler's equations of rigid body motion from least action principle. Suppose we are in free space so we have no gravity so Lagrangian is equal to kinetic energy. $$ L = T = ...
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366 views

How do I read the simple, but contradictory, Lagrangian ($\mathcal{L} = x + v$)?

I understand the lagrangian formulation of classical mechanics, to a degree. I can derive the Euler-Lagrange equations from the "least" action principle, and equivalently can determine the equations ...
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162 views

Is the Schwinger action principle important in renormalization?

Is the Schwinger action principle important in renormalization? I want to know if this principle could help us to see if a model is renormalizable of not. If you have any other comment or information ...
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234 views

What's an “Action” and what does the Lagrangian equation mean exactly?

How and why would a particle take the shortest path? $L=KE-PE$? What's the $KE-PE$ mean in English? I understand the 'mechanics' but not the idea itself. Please explain simply, I do know Calculus ...
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295 views

Energy-momentum tensor of Bosonic Ghost Action in String Theory

When quantizing bosonic string theory by means of the path integral, one inverts the Faddeev-Popov determinant by going to Grassmann variables, yielding: $$ S_{\mathrm{ghosts}} = ...
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336 views

Principle of Least Action [duplicate]

Is the principle of least action actually a principle of least action or just one of stationary action? I think I read in Landau/Lifschitz that there are some examples where the action of an actual ...
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396 views

What makes a Lagrangian a Lagrangian?

I just wanted to know what the characteristic property of a Lagrangian is? How do you see without referring to Newtonian Mechanics that it has to be $L=T-V$? People constructed a Lagrangian in ...
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435 views

Principle of Least Action via Finite-Difference Method

I am reading Gelfand's Calculus of Variations & mathematically everything makes sense to me, it makes perfect sense to me to set up the mathematics of extremization of functionals & show that ...
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Is this a valid derivation of the Legendre transformation from the Euler-Lagrange condition

E-L condition: $$\frac{d p}{dt}=\frac{\partial L}{\partial q}$$ Where $p=\frac{\partial L}{\partial \dot{q}}$ Are the following steps valid: $$\frac{\partial q}{dt} dp=\partial L$$ $$\dot{q} \: ...
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1answer
482 views

Retrieving Maxwell's equations from the minimum action principle

I'm currently working at the start of Alexei Tsvelik's book Quantum Field Theory in Condensed Matter Physics. I'm kinda stumped on a few essential steps. Starting with the action: $$S = \int dt \int ...
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429 views

Why vary the action with respect to the inverse metric?

Whenever I have read texts which employ actions that contain metric tensors, such as the Nambu-Goto, Polyakov or Einstein-Hilbert action, the equations of motion are derived by varying with respect to ...
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213 views

Discretization of action in path integral

I am reading Peskin and Schroeder (path integrals) and it states that discretising the classical action gives: $$S~=~\int \left(\frac{m}{2}\dot{x}^{2}-V(x)\right) dt ~\rightarrow~ \sum ...
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What is the action for an electromagnetic field if including magnetic charge

Recently, I try to write an action of an electromagnetic field with magnetic charge and quantize it. But it seems not as easy as it seems to be. Does anyone know anything or think of anything like ...
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How the boundary term in the variation of the action vanishes

In David Tong's QFT lecture notes (Quantum Field Theory: University of Cambridge Part III Mathematical Tripos, Lecture notes 2007, p.8), he states that We can determine the equations of motion by ...
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Noether's current expression in Peskin and Schroeder

In the second chapter of Peskin and Schroeder, An Introduction to Quantum Field Theory, it is said that the action is invariant if the Lagrangian density changes by a four-divergence. But if we ...
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Does anybody know of any good sources that explain (generically) how we form Lagrangians/Actions/Superpotentials for different field content?

I regularly find that I'll understand where the field content in a particular physics paper comes from, but then a Lagrangian or action or superpotential is stated and I don't know how it's derived. ...
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1answer
153 views

Varying an action (cosmological perturbation theory)

I am stuck varying an action, trying to get an equation of motion. (Going from eq. 91 to eq. 92 in the image.) This is the action $$S~=~\int d^{4}x \frac{a^{2}(t)}{2}(\dot{h}^{2}-(\nabla h)^2).$$ ...
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430 views

Polyakov action: difference induced metric and dynamical metric

The Polyakov action is given by: $$ S_p ~=~ -\frac{T}{2}\int d^2\sigma \sqrt{-g}g^{\alpha\beta}\partial_{\alpha}X^{\mu}\partial_{\beta}X^{\nu}\eta_{\mu\nu} ~=~ -\frac{T}{2}\int d^2\sigma ...
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Calculating the (on-shell) action of a free particle

I am having difficulty with the first problem from Feynman and Hibbs' book. For a free particle $L = (m/2)\dot{x}^2$. Show that the (on-shell) action $S_{cl}$ corresponding to the classical ...
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Why lagrangian is negative number?

In the special relativistic action for a massive point particle, $$\int_{t_i}^{t_f}\mathcal {L}dt,$$ why is the Lagrangian $$\mathcal {L}=-E_o\gamma^{-1}$$ a negative number?
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path integrals: how/why can the phase be identified with the action?

In Peskin & Schroeder, chapter 9 introduces the functional methods. The idea, to recall, is simply to sum over all the possible paths: $U(x_a,x_b;T) = \sum_{\text{all paths}} e^{i . ...
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709 views

Do an action and its Euler-Lagrange equations have the same symmetries?

Assume a certain action $S$ with certain symmetries, from which according to the Lagrangian formalism, the equations of motion (EOM) of the system are the corresponding Euler-Lagrange equations. Can ...
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290 views

Is the path of stationary action unique? What are the physical implications of $L_{\dot{x}}=L_x$

Below, for any function $Q$ the notation $Q_x$ means $\frac{\partial Q}{\partial x}$, and $Q_{xx}$ means $\frac{\partial^2 Q}{\partial x^2}$. In physics, the trajectory of a particle is given by the ...