The Hamiltonian formalism is a formalism in Classical Mechanics. Besides Lagrangian Mechanics, it is an effective way of reformulating classical mechanics in a simple way. Very useful in Quantum Mechanics, specifically the Heisenberg and Schrodinger formulations. Unlike Lagrangian ...

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When is the Hamiltonian of a system not equal to its total energy?

I thought the Hamiltonian was always equal to the total energy of a system but have read that this isn't always true. Is there an example of this and does the Hamiltonian have a physical ...
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Book about classical mechanics

I am looking for a book about "advanced" classical mechanics. By advanced I mean a book considering directly Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulation, and also providing a firm basis in the geometrical ...
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Why not using Lagrangian, instead of Hamiltonian, in non relativistic QM?

When we studied classical mechanics on the undergraduate level, on the level of Taylor, we covered Hamiltonian as well as Lagrangian mechanics. Now when we studied QM, on the level of Griffiths, we ...
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Physical meaning of Legendre transformation

I would like to know the physical meaning of the Legendre transformation, if there is any? I've used it in thermodynamics and classical mechanics and it seemed only a change of coordinates?
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Sympletic structure of General Relativity

Inspired by physics.SE: http://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/15571/does-the-dimensionality-of-phase-space-go-up-as-the-universe-expands/15613 It made me wonder about symplectic structures in ...
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What's the point of Hamiltonian mechanics?

I've just finished a Classical Mechanics course, and looking back on it some things are not quite clear. In the first half we covered the Lagrangian formalism, which I thought was pretty cool. I ...
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Equivalence between Hamiltonian and Lagrangian Mechanics

I'm reading a proof about Langrangian => Hamiltonian and one part of it just doesn't make sense to me. The Lagrangian is written $L(q, \dot q, t)$, and is convex in $\dot q$, and then the Hamiltonian ...
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Hamilton-Jacobi Equation

In the Hamilton-Jacobi equation, we take the partial time derivative of the action. But the action comes from integrating the Lagrangian over time, so time seems to just be a dummy variable here and ...
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Is there a physical system whose phase space is the torus?

NOTE. This is not a question about mathematics and in particular it's not a question about whether one can endow the torus with a symplectic structure. In an answer to the question What kind of ...
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Special relativity and massless particles

I encountered an assertion that a massless particle moves with fundamental speed c, and this is the consequence of special relativity. Some authors (such as L. Okun) like to prove this assertion with ...
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Weyl Ordering Rule

While studying Path Integrals in Quantum Mechanics I have found that [Srednicki: Eqn. no. 6.6] the quantum Hamiltonian $\hat{H}(\hat{P},\hat{Q})$ can be given in terms of the classical Hamiltonian ...
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Find the Hamiltonian given $\dot p$ and $\dot q$

I have these equations: $$\dot p=ap+bq,$$ $$\dot q=cp+dq,$$ and I have to find the conditions such as the equations are canonical. Then, I have to find the Hamiltonian $H$. To answer to the first ...
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Energy operator

Does the Hamiltonian always translate to the energy of a system? What about in QM? So by the Schrodinger equation, is it true then that $i\hbar{\partial\over\partial t}|\psi\rangle=H|\psi\rangle$ ...
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Hamiltonian or not?

Is there a way to know if a system described by a known equation of motion admits a Hamiltonian function? Take for example $$ \dot \vartheta_i = \omega_i + J\sum_j \sin(\vartheta_j-\vartheta_i)$$ ...
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Operator Ordering Ambiguities

I have been told that $$[\hat x^2,\hat p^2]=2i\hbar (\hat x\hat p+\hat p\hat x)$$ illustrates operator ordering ambiguity. What does that mean? I tried googling but to no avail.
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Why is the symplectic manifold version of Hamiltonian mechanics used in Newtonian mechanics?

Books such as Mathematical methods of classical mechanics describe an approach to classical (Newtonian/Galilean) mechanics where Hamiltonian mechanics turn into a theory of symplectic forms on ...
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An example of non-Hamiltonian systems

I am preparing for the exam. And I need to know the answer to one question which I can't understand. "Give an example of non-Hamiltonian systems: in case of infinite number of particles; for a finite ...
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Non-Integrable systems

Integrable systems are systems which have $2n-1$ time-independent, functionally independent conserved quantities (n being the number of degrees of freedom), or n whose Poisson brackets with each other ...
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What are some mechanics examples with a globally non-generic symplecic structure?

In the framework of statistical mechanics, in books and lectures when the fundamentals are stated, i.e. phase space, Hamiltons equation, the density etc., phase space seems usually be assumed to be ...
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Question about canonical transformation

I was going through my professor's notes about Canonical transformations. He states that a canonical transformation from $(q, p)$ to $(Q, P)$ is one that if which the original coordinates obey ...
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Hamiltonian mechanics and special relativity?

Is there a relativistic version of Hamiltonian mechanics? If so, how is it formulated (what are the main equations and the form of Hamiltonian)? Is it a common framework, if not then why? It would be ...
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Which transformations are canonical?

Which transformations are canonical? Why do canonical transformations preserve the measure of integration in phase space?
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Writing $\dot{q}$ in terms of $p$ in the Hamiltonian formulation

In the Hamiltonian formulation, we make a Legendre transformation of the Lagrangian and it should be written in terms of the coordinates $q$ and momentum $p$. Can we always write $dq/dt$ in terms of ...
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Type of stationary point in Hamilton's principle

In this question it is discussed why by Hamilton's principle the action integral must be stationary. Most examples deal with the case that the action integral is minimal: this makes sense - we all ...
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How does one quantize the phase-space semiclassically?

Often, when people give talks about semiclassical theories they are very shady about how quantization actually works. Usually they start with talking about a partition of $\hbar$-cells then end up ...
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primary constraints for constrained Hamiltonian systems

I would be most thankful if you could help me clarify the setting of primary constraints for constrained Hamiltonian systems. I am reading "Classical and quantum dynamics of constrained Hamiltonian ...
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What kind of manifold can be the phase space of a Hamiltonian system?

Of course it should have dimension $2n$. But any more conditions? For example, can a genus-2 surface be the phase space of a Hamiltonian system?
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What exactly are Hamiltonian Mechanics (and Lagrangian mechanics)

What exactly are Hamiltonian Mechanics (and Lagrangian mechanics)? I want to self-study QM, and I've heard from most people that Hamiltonian mechanics is a prereq. So I wikipedia'd it and the entry ...
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Hamiltonian is conserved, but is not the total mechanical energy

I wondering about the interpretation for the energy difference between the Hamiltonian and the total mechanical energy for systems where the Hamiltonian is conserved, but it is not equal to the total ...
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Lagrangian to Hamiltonian in Quantum Field Theory

While deriving Hamiltonian from Lagrangian density, we use the formula $$\mathcal{H} ~=~ \pi \dot{\phi} - \mathcal{L}.$$ But since we are considering space and time as parameters, why the formula ...
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Constraints of massive relativistic point particle in hamiltonian mechanics

I try to understand constructing of Hamiltonian mechanics with constraints. I decided to start with the simple case: free relativistic particle. I've constructed hamiltonian with constraint: ...
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Gauge Invariance of the Hamiltonian of the electromagnetic field

The Hamiltonian for an electron of mass $m$ and charge $e$ in an exterior electromagnetic field is $$H=\frac{1}{2m}(p-(e/c)A)^2+e\varphi.$$ The corresponding (via canonical quantization) quantum ...
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Are the Hamiltonian and Lagrangian always convex functions?

The Hamiltonian and Lagrangian are related by a Legendre transform: $$ H(\mathbf{q}, \mathbf{p}, t) = \sum_i \dot q_i p_i - \mathcal{L}(\mathbf{q}, \mathbf{\dot q}, t). $$ For this to be a Legendre ...
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Elimination of velocities from momenta equations for singular Lagrangian

this doubt is related to Generalized Hamiltonian Dynamics paper by Dirac. Consider the set of $n$ equations : $p_i$ = $∂L/∂v_i$, (where $v_i$ is $q_i$(dot) = $dq_i/dt$, or time derivative of ...
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How to find constant of motion for Hamiltonian system?

I have to find a constant of motion associated to this Hamiltonian but I don't know how to proceed. $$H=\frac{\mathbf{p_0}^2}{2m}+\frac{\mathbf{p_1}^2}{2m}+\frac{\mathbf{p_2}^2}{2m}-2V(\mathbf{r_1}- ...
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A kind of Noether's theorem for the Hamiltonian

How can I (conveniently?) show that an invariance of the Lagrangian and Hamiltonian (i.e. the kinetic as well as the potential energy are independently invariant) will lead to a conservation law using ...
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Lorentz invariance of the 3 + 1 decomposition of spacetime

Why is allowed decompose the spacetime metric into a spatial part + temporal part like this for example $$ds^2 ~=~ (-N^2 + N_aN^a)dt^2 + 2N_adtdx^a + q_{ab}dx^adx^b$$ ($N$ is called lapse, $N_a$ is ...
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Is general relativity holonomic?

Is it meaningful to ask whether general relativity is holonomic or nonholonomic, and if so, which is it? If not, then does the question become meaningful if, rather than the full dynamics of the ...
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What's the physical intuition for symplectic structures?

I always thought about symplectic forms as elements of areas in little subspaces because of the Darboux theorem, however I cannot get the physical intuition for it and for the hamiltonian vector ...
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What is Quantization?

In classical mechanics you construct an action (involving a Lagrangian in arbitrary generalized coordinates, a Hamiltonian in canonical coordinates [to make your EOM more "convenient & ...
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What does symplecticity imply?

Symplectic systems are a common object of studies in classical physics and nonlinearity sciences. At first I assumed it was just another way of saying Hamiltonian, but I also heard it in the context ...
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Connection between conserved charge and the generator of a symmetry

I'm trying to understand the connection between Noether charges and symmetry generators a little better. In Schwartz QFT book, chapter 28.2, he states that the Noether charge $Q$ generates the ...
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Formalism to deal with discontinuous potentials in classical mechanics (hard wall, hard spheres)

It seems to me that Hamiltonian formalism does not suit well for problems involving instantaneous change of momentum, like particle collisions with hard wall or hard sphere gas model. At least I could ...
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Dirac equation as canonical quantization?

First of all, I'm not a physicist, I'm mathematics phd student, but I have one elementary physical question and was not able to find answer in standard textbooks. Motivation is quite simple: let me ...
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What do the derivatives in these Hamilton equations mean?

I have a Hamiltonian: $$H=\dot qp - L = \frac 1 2 m\dot q^2+kq^2\frac 1 2 - aq$$ In a system with one coordinate $q$ (where $L$ is the Lagrangian). One of the Hamilton equations is: $$\dot q ...
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Strange definition of microcanonical partition function

I always thought that the microcanonical partition function would measure the number of states that correspond to some fixed energy. Despite, I found in this paper (equation 3.4) that we integrate ...
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Quantizing first-class constraints for open algebras: can Hermiticity and noncommutativity coexist?

An open algebra for a collection of first-class constraints, $G_a$, $a=1,\cdots, r$, is given by the Poisson bracket $\{ G_a, G_b \} = {f_{ab}}^c[\phi] G_c$ classically, where the structure constants ...
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In Path Integrals, lagrangian or hamiltonian are fundamental?

When studying path-integrals one question arose to my mind... Which presentation is more fundamental to calculate the propagator? The one based on the Hamiltonian (phase space)? $$K(B|A) = \int ...
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Quantum Mechanics Notation for BRA KET

I've been given this homework problem, but I do not understand its notation. Please perform the following where the wavefunctions are the normalized eigenfunctions of the harmonic oscillator ...
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Is there a Hamiltonian for the (classical) electromagnetic field? If so, how can it be derived from the Lagrangian?

The classical Lagrangian for the electromagnetic field is $$\mathcal{L} = -\frac{1}{4\mu_0} F^{\mu \nu} F_{\mu \nu} - J^\mu A_\mu.$$ Is there also a Hamiltonian? If so, how to derive it? I know how ...