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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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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40 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 $S_{GHY}=-\frac{...
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5answers
239 views

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} \mathscr{...
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36 views

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
232 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
132 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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84 views

On the surface, 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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0answers
111 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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238 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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37 views

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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0answers
45 views

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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36 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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1answer
106 views

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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1answer
38 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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2answers
68 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 $$R_{\mu\nu}-\frac{1}{2}g_{\mu\nu}R=\...
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2answers
58 views

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} X^\mu(\tau)}{\...
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1answer
98 views

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
27 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 $q^{(1)...
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0answers
86 views

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 have a ...
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0answers
56 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 \frac{1}{v(\tau)}~\...
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2answers
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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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117 views

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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73 views

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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1answer
80 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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3answers
485 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 be ...
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47 views

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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2answers
349 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 ...
2
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1answer
55 views

Different actions equivalence in general relativity?

I started reading up on the different actions that appear in GR. I have come across two: When looking at geodesics I found: $$S=\int \sqrt{-g_{\mu \nu} \frac{dx^\mu}{d\lambda} \frac{dx^\nu}{d\...
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2answers
113 views

qualitative explanation of Principle of Least Action (vertical movement)

Consider the following situation I want to understand what the PLA means here from an intuitive and qualitative point of view. I understand the mathematical approach. Combining $L(y,\dot{y})=\...
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1answer
42 views

Deriving Expression for variation of Action (Lagrangian Mechanics)

I am studying Lagrangian mechanics and I have come across something that I do not understand. Basically the text I am reading skipped steps and I do not know how to get from point A to point B. I ...
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1answer
210 views

Why are the Euler-Lagrange equations invariant if we add a surface term to the action?

In the lecture on Noether's theorem and the Lagrange formulation of classical field theories, my professor wrote A symmetry is a field variation that maps solutions to solutions, which is true if ...
2
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1answer
64 views

Deriving velocity after elastic and inelastic collision via the Principle of Least Action

I am reading on the Principle of Least Action from a historical perspective. I am also trying to make sense of it from a contemporary point of view -- though my training in contemporary physics is ...
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67 views

Why should physical theories always have a Lagrangian formalism? [duplicate]

I've often heard that every physical theory has some kind of Lagrangian formalism, or a formalism in terms of a principle of stationary action. The Standard Model has one, General Relativity has one, ...
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2answers
134 views

Equivalence of functional and partial derivatives

I am trying to derive Newton's second law from the principle of least action, that is, setting the functional derivative $\frac{\delta S}{\delta x(t)}$ equal to 0. $$S = \int dt' \left[ \frac{m}{2} ...
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65 views

Is there any reason for principle of least action to be true? [duplicate]

My question is not rigidly related to physics. The principle of least actions says that for any dynamical system there exists a function parameterized by $q$'s and $\dot{q}$'s such that the line ...
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0answers
48 views

What is a macro world example of “action”? [duplicate]

What is a real world example of action? This question originally came to me when learning about Planck's constant $h$. Planck's constant $h$ is measured in Joule * Seconds. I know Joule * Seconds can ...
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2answers
554 views

Why don't all free particles lose their kinetic energy?

I'm currently studying Action. I've been reading about how a particle has particular probabilities of ending at an infinite number of events. Say I have a free particle that isn't experiencing any ...
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1answer
66 views

On the connection between forces and the principle of stationary action

Feynman tries to account for the relation between the principle of stationary action, which is a statement about the whole path of a particle, and Newton's second law, which is a statement about the ...
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2answers
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Finding the action of a discretized Lagrangian

I am trying to find the action associated with the Lagrangian density $$ \mathcal{L} = \frac{1}{2}\left( \frac{\partial\phi}{\partial x} \right)^2 + \frac{1}{2}m^2\phi^2. \tag{1} $$ I am supposed to ...
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1answer
56 views

Physical significance of omitting a purely time dependent term from a Lagrangian

For a simple pendulum whose point of support moves on a vertical circle of radius $a$ with constant frequency $\gamma$, you can write the Lagrangian down. The potential energy can be written as $-mg(-...
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1answer
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3-cylinder surface element (Poisson's “A Relativist's Toolkit”)

From Poisson's "A Relativist's Toolkit": he introduces the non-dynamical term $$ S_0=\frac{1}{8\pi}\int_{\partial\Omega}\epsilon K\sqrt{\lvert h\rvert}d^3x $$ in the GR action, where $h$ is the ...
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3answers
166 views

The Nambu-Goto action how do we know the Hamilton's principle applies?

I am reading 'A first course in string theory' by Barton Zwiebach (2ed) on page 112 he comes up (after a small derivation) the action formula: $$S=-\frac{T_0}{c} \int d\tau d \sigma \sqrt{-\gamma}.$$ ...
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Help me calculate the Euclidean action of a gravitating system!

I recently read Gibbons and Hawking's paper Action integrals and partition functions in quantum gravity, Phys. Rev. D 15 (1977) 2752. I am interested in repeating their calculations. It is fairly ...
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50 views

Reversing time for a closed system of particles

For a closed system of particles, the lagrangian in classical mechanics is $$L=\sum \frac{1}{2}mv_a^2 - U(\mathbf{r_1},\mathbf{r_2}, \cdots)$$ For an arbitrary position function $x(t)$, to see the ...
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2answers
170 views

What exactly is the Action? (Learning lagrangian)

I have been trying to wrap my head around lagrangian mechanics but I find some parts confusing. For example, what exactly is action and why is it defined by the Kinetic energy minus the potential ...
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2answers
93 views

Classical trajectories that are not a minimum of the action [duplicate]

Are there physically realizable dynamical systems where the true trajectory is not a minumum action trajectory? Formally, Lagrangian mechanics only requires that the trajectory be an extremum (or ...
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1answer
78 views

Derivation of an ordinary, Lagrangian/Hamiltonian and action formulation

I am confused as to how the different formulations in physics are derived. In many fields of physics, we usually begin with an ordinary formulation (e.g Newton's Laws in classical mechanics), and ...
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3answers
110 views

Hamilton's Principle - achieving Hamilton equations

Consider the action function: $$\mathcal{S}(t)=\int_{t_1}^{t_2}\mathcal{L}(q_i,\dot{q_i},t) dt$$ where $\mathcal{L}$ is the Lagrangian of the system. The Hamiltonian is defined by the following ...
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39 views

Does the principle of stationary action always work? [duplicate]

Give some Lagrangian we use the principle of stationary action to find the desired euqations of motion for something (e.g. a field). A lot of modern physics seems to be based on the principle of ...
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1answer
128 views

How does one express a Lagrangian and Action in the language of forms?

In Lipschitzs Classical Mechanics a Lagrangian is defined as: $L(q,q',t)$ for some trajectory $q(t)$ of a particle And the action is defined as: $S:=\int^a_b L(q,q',t) dt$ How does one ...