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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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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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 $e$...
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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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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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163 views

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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353 views

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 t\sqrt{1-\...
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190 views

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 L}{\...
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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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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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350 views

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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742 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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75 views

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 $$I_0[\...
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830 views

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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Why does the action have to be hermitian?

The hermiticity of operators of observables, e.g. the Hamiltonian, in QM is usually justified by saying that the eigenvalues must be real valued. I know that the Lagrangian is just a Legendre ...
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556 views

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 Hamilton'...
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Energy Tensor, covariant derivate, variation respect to the metric [duplicate]

I'm doing the variation of a Lagrangian respect to the metric, but I am having problem with a particular terminus. My action is: $$ S=\int d^4x \sqrt{-g}[ (\nabla_\mu A^\mu)^2]$$ My lagrangian is: $...
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Difference between Gravitational and Matter Scalar Fields

In the context of Scalar-Tensor theories of gravity (for example in Brans-Dicke) what is the difference between gravitational and matter scalar Fields? My doubt comes from "The scalar-tensor Theory ...
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Functional Derivative in the Linear Sigma Model

In the linear sigma model, the Lagrangian is given by $$ \mathcal{L} = \frac{1}{2}\sum_{i=1}^{N} \left(\partial_\mu\phi^i\right)\left(\partial^\mu\phi^i\right) +\frac{1}{2}\mu^2\sum_{i=1}^{N}\left(\...
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CM: Need to recover the Hamiltonian, knowing conserved quantities and information about the EOM, possibly via action-angle coordinates

Statement of the problem: I have a system with 2 degrees of freedom and I have found two independent conserved quantities, without knowledge of the Hamiltonian. I'm looking for a method to recover a ...
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Question about an integration by parts in Feynman's Quantum Mechanics [closed]

I have begun reading Feynman & Hibbs Quantum Mechanics and Path Integrals. Knowing little about variational calculus or Lagrangians I found the following integration by parts opaque. I think if I ...
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Derivation of the Noether current

(c.f Di Francesco et al, Conformal Field Theory, pp40-41) I am trying to derive eqn (2.142) or $\delta S = \int d^d x \partial_{\mu}j^{\mu}_a \omega_a$ in the book CFT by Di Francesco et al. I have ...
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The Einstein-Hilbert Action On-Shell

If one consider the Maxwell action as $$S=-\int \mathrm{d^{4}}x\! \ \frac{1}{4}F_{ab}F^{ab} \,$$ one find the usual Maxwell equation $$\partial_{a}F^{ab}=0$$ Then one can simply arrive the following ...
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Confusion regarding the principle of least action in Landau's “The Classical Theory of Fields”

Edit: The previous title didn't really ask the same thing as the question (sorry about that), so I've changed it. To clarify, I understand that the action isn't always a minimum. My questions are in ...
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236 views

Deriving field equation in Yang Mills theory

Trying to show that $$D_\mu\vec{F^{\mu \nu}} = \partial_{\mu}\vec{F^{\mu \nu}} + g \vec{A_\mu} \times \vec{F^{\mu \nu}} = 4 \pi \vec{J^\nu},$$ or (correct me if I'm wrong) $$ \partial_{\mu} F^{\mu \...
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A Question on Hamilton's Principle

In some literatures, the Hamilton's principle for conservative systems is introduced by this equation: $$\delta \int_{t_1}^{t_2}(T-V) ~\mathrm{d}t~=~0$$ In some others, this principle is introduces ...
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Variation of Action with time coordinate variations

I was trying to derive equation (65) in the following review: http://relativity.livingreviews.org/open?pubNo=lrr-2004-4&page=articlesu23.html This slightly unusual then usual classical mechanics ...
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Source material desired for behavior of derivatives of action

I'm basically looking for concise commentary, and especially source material/ short discussion pertaining to the following, which I will (emphasizing loosely) state as follows: Suppose a given action ...
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How do you determine the Lagrangian? [duplicate]

I have always been puzzled by how do you arrive at Lagrangians? That is, how do you know that the functional you need to get Newton's equations is $$L = T-V(x)~?$$ Do you derive the Lagrangian ...
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Deriving massless point particle action from Maxwell action?

Starting with the Maxwell action for a $U(1)$ vector gauge boson with a general metric and (I'm assuming) using a plane wave ansatz for the vector, is it possible to derive the action for a massless ...
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Several stationary points of the action functional

In QFT the principle of stationary action states that we choose fields that will make the action stationary but what if the action has many stationary points (for a fixed choice of boundary conditions)...
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Functional field integral in condensed matter field theory (Altland)

This is the action for the 1+1 dimensional interacting electron system; $$S_{cl}[\theta , \phi]= \frac{1}{2\pi} \int dxd\tau \left(g^{-1}v(\partial_x \theta)^2 + gv(\partial_x \phi)^2 + 2i\partial_{\...
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Lagrangian for relativistic massless point particle

For relativistic massive particle, the action is $$S ~=~ -m_0 \int ds ~=~ -m_0 \int d\lambda ~\sqrt{ g_{\mu\nu} \dot{x}^{\mu}\dot{x}^{\nu}} ~=~ \int d\lambda \ L,$$ where $ds$ is the proper time of ...
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Why does Principle for least action hold for classical fields [duplicate]

Let $\mathscr L (\phi(\mathbf x), \partial \phi(\mathbf x))$ denote the Lagrangian density of field $\phi(\mathbf x)$. Then then actual value of the field $\phi(\mathbf x)$ can be computed from the ...
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Field equations in extended EH-GHY action. Is Schwarzschild a solution?

When taking the EH action, $$S_{EH} = \frac{1}{16\pi G}\int_M d^4x \sqrt{-g}R$$ and making a small variation in the metric while ignoring boundary terms, we obtain $$\delta S_{EH} = \frac{1}{16\pi G}\...
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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 + \frac{g_{D5}^2}{2}\sum\...
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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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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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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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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 hyper-...
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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 quantity....
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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 = \int_{t_1}^{...
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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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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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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 ...