For questions involving the Lagrangian formulation of a dynamical system. Namely, the application of an action principle to a suitably chosen Lagrangian or Lagrangian Density in order to obtain the equations of motion of the system.

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59 views

What is the difference between configuration space and phase space?

What is the difference between configuration space and phase space? In particular, I notices that Lagrangians are defined over configuration space and Hamiltonians over phase space. Liouville's ...
4
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1answer
67 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 ...
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2answers
52 views

“Shortest” path in general relativity

My professor in mechanics course sneakily teach us some basic idea of general relativity. Which one of the basic assumption is particle walks in shortest world line. I understand shortest path in ...
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0answers
11 views

Sliding ladder kinetic energy in generalised coordinates [on hold]

This is a problem from Hand and Finchs' Analytical Mechanics, in a chapter looking at holonomic constraints and generalised coordinates in Lagrangian Mechanics. A ladder of length $L$ and mass $M$ ...
2
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1answer
23 views

Degrees of freedom of a point mass sliding on a rigid curved wire without friction

I am very new to the subject and am going through Structure and Interpretation of Classical Mechanics. One exercise asks to find the degrees of freedom of a number of systems, one of which is a ...
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1answer
66 views

Classical spin viewed as $SU(2)$

In which sense is the configuration variable of a classical spin $SU(2)$? I can view a classical spin as a unit vector in $\mathbb{S}^2$ (2-dim. sphere), but it seems it is really given by a matrix ...
2
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1answer
50 views

Proving independence of the lagrangian on position of a free particle using the euler-lagrange equation

I asked a similar question some time back but am trying to work this from another angle. In deriving the lagrangian of a free particle, we use the homogeneity of space to conclude that the lagrangian ...
1
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1answer
49 views

Equation of motion of an auxiliary field

I'm a newbie in the field of QFT and SUSY, so I'm warning you: this might be a stupid question. I'm working with auxiliary fields to describe supersymmetric models and I understand that upon ...
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1answer
77 views

Reduction of Nambu Goto action to true degrees of freedom

First consider the particle $$S=m\int\sqrt{-\dot{X}^2}d\tau$$ if you choose the static gauge $\tau=X^0$ and replace it in the action you get $$=m\int\sqrt{1-\dot{X}^j\dot{X}^j}d\tau$$ So now, you ...
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3answers
556 views

Can Lagrangian mechanics be justified without referring to Newtonian mechanics?

Are there any ways of justifying Lagrangian mechanics as a foundation of classical physics, without referring to Newtonian mechanics? In other words, what is the deeper reason or intuition why ...
2
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2answers
84 views

Why don't we take this term $D_{\mu}D_{\nu}F^{\mu\nu}$ in Lagrangians?

Why don't we take $$D_{\mu}D_{\nu}F^{\mu\nu}$$ in Lagrangians?
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1answer
72 views

Lagrangian for free particle in special relativity

From definition of Lagrangian: $L = T - U$. As I understand for free particle ($U = 0$) one should write $L = T$. In special relativity we want Lorentz-invariant action thus we define free-particle ...
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2answers
84 views

How to find the rank of the matrix $\frac{\partial ^2\mathcal{L}}{\partial \dot{X^\mu} \partial \dot{X^\nu} }$ for the Nambu-Goto string Lagrangian?

In this case $$\mathcal{L}~=~-T\sqrt{-\dot{X^2}X'^2+(\dot{X}\cdot X')^2}.$$ I was reading some books and papers about the constraints in the Nambu-Goto action, and all of them say something like ...
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1answer
38 views

How to calculate the period of the movement from a potential?

I have an assignment, where I have an object moving in 1-D with a given mass and energy, and the potential V(x), and I'm supposed to calculate the period of the movement as a function of the energy ...
2
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1answer
108 views

Why two different Lagrangians to derive geodesic equations?

I'm trying (very early stages) to understand the derivation of the geodesic equation ...
2
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1answer
50 views

Poincare non-invariance in real world and field theory

This may be a very blunt question but I wonder why we always use Poincare invariant Lagrangians in field theory. After all, the entire world around us is by no means homogeneous, isotropic and so on. ...
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1answer
48 views

Deriving lagrangian of a free particle - How do you arrive at Lagrangian independency conclusions

I guess this question has been asked before, but I'm looking at a slightly different aspect. I'm reading Landau's book on classical mechanics. In deriving the lagrangian for a free particle, I ...
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1answer
37 views

Total time derivative of magnetic vector potential A

I am looking at this document, which tries to establish the Lagrangian of the Lorentz force. Everything is fine, but I don't see why: $$\frac{dA_i}{dt}=\frac{\partial A_i}{\partial t}+\frac{\partial ...
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1answer
48 views

Calculating Christoffel symbols from Lagrangian

I was given the following metric for a sphere $$g_{\mu\nu} = diag(1, r^2, r^2\sin^2\theta)$$ and tasked to calculate the Christoffel symbols. There are 2 ways that I know of to calculate them. One ...
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0answers
59 views

Error in Susskind's “The Theoretical Minimum”?

Susskind's "The Theoretical Minimum", p. 117: Why isn't the last formula $$ \mathcal{A} = \int_{t_0}^{t_1} \biggl[\frac{1}{2}m\Bigl(\dot{X}+\dot{f}\Bigr)^2-V\bigl(X \color{red}{+ f(t)}\bigr)\biggr] ...
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1answer
108 views

Differentiating the Lagrangian to find geodesic equations?

I'm stuck pretty much at the first hurdle trying to follow the derivation of the geodesic equations from the Lagrangian ...
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1answer
50 views

Why is the solution of the $\phi^6$ potential not a soliton?

Consider a theory with a $\phi^6$-scalar potential: $$ \mathcal{L} = \frac{1}{2}(\partial_\mu\phi)^2-\phi^2(\phi^2-1)^2. $$ I solved its equation of motion but found that the general form of its ...
2
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0answers
53 views

Decoupling of generalized coordinates in lagrangian

Say you have a lagrangian $L$ for a system of 2 degrees of freedom. The action, S is: $S[y,z] = \int_{t_1}^{t_2} L(t,y,y',z,z')\,dt \tag{1}$ If $y$ and $z$ are associated with two parts of the ...
2
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1answer
71 views

Null geodesic equation

For a null geodesic curve $X^i$, $$0=g_{ij}V^iV^j.$$ When we derive the geodesic equation from E-L equations, will this affine parametrization cause it to blow up? How is it justified to use the ...
2
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3answers
93 views

Why are complex fields in the Lagrangian?

I know that a complex field has twice the number of degrees of freedom of a real field, and that fields (in QFT) aren't observables so we don't really care if they are real. But why the need for ...
2
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1answer
82 views

Invariance of Fermionic action under Lorentz transformations

Suppose I have an Lagrangian $$\mathcal{L} = \frac{1}{2}g_{ab} \bar{\psi}^a \Gamma^k \partial_k \psi^b $$ and I want to show it's invariance under the infinitesimal Lorentz transformations $$\delta ...
4
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2answers
75 views

Lagrangian $L' = L + \frac{df}{dt}$ gives the same equations of motion

It is well known that when a Lagrangian $L$ is incremented by the total time derivative of a function $f$ that does not depend on the time derivatives of the generalized coordinates, the same ...
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2answers
101 views

Do the same equations of motion imply the same Lagrangians? [duplicate]

If two Lagrangian (densities) $\mathcal{L}$ give the same equations of motion, are they equivalent?
1
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1answer
125 views

Why a timelike geodesic maximizes path length?

I'm studying some GR and my book says that in Pseudo-Riemannian manifolds geodesics may even maximize the path locally. That's what happen to the timelike geodesics, for example. My first question: Is ...
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0answers
70 views

Lagrangian, geodesics and relativity [closed]

My background is in maths, but I have been studying some basic physics with occasional input from a friend who is studying for a physics PhD. Due to my background, I am keen to visualize things ...
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1answer
58 views

Is angular momentum the conjugate momentum of an angle?

Lagrangian mechanics can be used to describe the double pendulum (see here, for example). In this development are the conjugate momenta $p_{\theta_i}$ exactly the angular momenta $m_i l_i \frac{d ...
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1answer
38 views

Holonomic constraints and degrees of freedom?

Can we see that a constraint can decrease the degrees of freedom of a system if and only if it is holonomic. Either way please can you explain why?
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0answers
26 views

Equivalence between Chern-Simons action and first order formalism

I can not derive second line from Chern-Simons action \noindent $S_{cs}$=k$\int{Tr(A \wedge dA+\frac{2}{3}}A \wedge A\wedge A)$ \noindent =k$\int{\ e }^a\wedge $R[$\omega $] we have to use ...
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2answers
78 views

Deriving the geodesic equation [closed]

I having been reading a general relativity book, but when in comes to the geodesic equation, it is not derived. How does one go about doing this?
9
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1answer
123 views

Are there other less famous yet accepted formalisms of Classical Mechanics?

I was lately studying about the Lagrange and Hamiltonian Mechanics. This gave me a perspective of looking at classical mechanics different from that of Newton's. I would like to know if there are ...
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0answers
94 views

Why don't we have logarithms or exponentials of the fields in the Lagrangians?

All tbe Lagrangian densities I have seen have always been polynomials of the fields. Is this a coincidence or is there a reason forbid, say, Lagrangians with logarithms or exponentials of the fields?
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1answer
38 views

Which of the Physics textbooks would you recommend I read this quarter (Analytical Mechanics)? [duplicate]

My Analytical Mechanics class this quarter has one required textbook: "Classical Dynamics of Particles and Systems" by Thornton & Marion and three recommended readings: "Mechanics" by Landau ...
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1answer
41 views

Solving Lagrangian equations of motion for two point-bodies with gravitational interaction

I would like to solve the equations of motion with the Lagrangian function for two point-bodies that interact gravitationally via the potential $$V= {-Gm_1m_2 \over r_{12}} $$ where $$r_{12} = **r_1 ...
1
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1answer
50 views

Sign of matter Lagrangian term in curved space

In field theory the (matter) Lagrangian $\mathcal{L}_m$ is uncertain upto an overall constant multiplying factor (i.e. $\mathcal{L}_m$ and $a\mathcal{L}_m$ yield the same field equation(s) on ...
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3answers
97 views

Lagrangian/Hamiltonian mechanics at high school?

Has anyone developed an approach to teaching mechanics based on Lagrangian/Hamiltonian mechanics from the ground up. I mean from high school on up. This is akin to explicitly not talking about ...
2
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0answers
70 views

Schwarzschild metric circular orbits and kepler's 3rd law

I have been looking at the Schwarzschild metric presented to me as the following within lectures: ...
0
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1answer
37 views

Information contained in Lagrangians and actions [duplicate]

I've been looking into analytical mechanics with the intention of finding out more about Lagrangians and actions. As far as I currently understand it, the Lagrangian is formed with positions and ...
3
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0answers
52 views

Why is the strong CP term $ \theta \frac{g^2}{32 \pi^2} G_{\mu \nu}^a \tilde{G}^{a, \mu \nu}$ never considered for $SU(2)$ or $U(1)$ interactions?

The Lagrangian one would write down naivly for QCD is invariant under CP, which is in agreement with all experiments. Nevertheless, if we add the term \begin{equation} \theta \frac{g^2}{32 \pi^2} ...
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3answers
111 views

What is a “Reversed Effective Force”?

I have some confusion about the "Reversed effective force" as it appears in the derivation of D'Alembert's principle. In Goldstein d'Alembert's principle is given as: $(F-\dot{p}) \cdot \delta r = ...
3
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2answers
142 views

Non-relativistic QFT Lagrangian for fermions

Take the ordinary Hamiltonian from non-relativistic quantum mechanics expressed in terms of the fermi fields $\psi(\mathbf{x})$ and $\psi^\dagger(\mathbf{x})$ (as derived, for example, by A. L. Fetter ...
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0answers
51 views

Hamiltonian linearly proportional to momentum

In this question, it is discussed why, in Lagrangians we usually stick to first derivatives and quadratic terms we never see higher derivatives. The selected answer shows that, if a Lagrangian $L(q, ...
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2answers
87 views

Phase space Lagrangian?

Reading out of this lecture series we define a phase space Lagrangian $\mathcal L$ to be a function of $4n+1$ variables namely $q,\dot q,p,\dot p,t$. My question is, what space is this function ...
2
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1answer
86 views

Hamiltonian field equations constraints

Let's consider the Lagrangian $$\mathcal{L}~=~-\frac{1}{2}(\partial_\mu\phi^\nu)^2+\frac{1}{2}(\partial_\mu\phi^\mu)^2+\frac{1}{2}m^2\phi_\mu \phi^\mu,$$ with Minkowski metric $\eta_{\mu\nu}={\rm ...
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1answer
56 views

Why does the following contradiction arise in Lagrangian Formalism?

If we look at the Lagrange's equation $\frac{d}{dt}(\frac{\partial L}{\partial \dot{q_i}})- \frac{\partial L}{\partial q_i}=0$ It is clear that Lagrangian is invariant under a Transformation $L ...
4
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2answers
101 views

Pass to globally conserved currents from locally conserved currents in curved spacetime

Let us begin with a Lagrangian of the form $$\mathscr L= \frac 12 \sqrt{-g}g^{\mu\nu}\partial_\mu\phi(x)\partial_\nu\phi(x)+\mathscr L_g,$$ where $$\mathscr L_g=\frac 1{16\pi k}\sqrt{-g}R.$$ ...