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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The einbein in the action of a relativistic massive point particles [on hold]

The action of a relativistic massive point particle moving in space-time is $$S=-m\int d\tau \sqrt{g _{\nu \rho}\frac{dx^{\nu}}{d\tau}\frac{dx^{\rho}}{d\tau}}$$ [with Minkowski sign convention ...
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Why are functional representations of systems important in physics or computational physics?

This was an addendum to a previous question I asked, but I figured I should make it it's own discussion. Assuming I am able derive a functional representation for any dynamical system (dissipative, ...
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69 views

Can we derive most fundamental laws from the Action Principle? [duplicate]

It is said in the book Fearful Symmetry - The Search for Beauty in Modern Physics that we can derive all basic laws in physics from a simple principle called Least Action Principle (although it may be ...
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68 views

How to formulate variational principles (Lagrangian/Hamiltonian) for nonlinear, dissipative or initial value problems?

Although this questions is very much math related, I posted it in Physics since it is related to variational (Lagrangian/Hamiltonian) principles for dynamical systems. If I should migrate this ...
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38 views

Action principle for a faster-than-light point particle in special relativity [on hold]

When we have principle of stationary action in the Newtonian physics, we can safely choose any smooth trajectory connecting the initial and the final points because any velocity $\textbf{v}$ is ...
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Given potentials, how does one find conserved quantities using Noether's theorem?

I've been asked to find the conserved quantities of the following 3D potentials: $U(\vec{r}) = U(x^2)$, $U(\vec{r}) = U(x^2 + y^2)$ and $U(\vec{r}) = U(x^2 + y^2 + z^2)$. For the first one, ...
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Variation of a term in the Lagrangian

I don't understand why $$\frac{\delta}{\delta\phi}\left(\frac12\partial^\mu\phi\partial_\mu\phi\right)~=~\partial^\mu\partial_\mu\phi.\tag{1}$$ If we use integration by parts, there should be a minus ...
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38 views

Hamiltonian density of classical Klein-Gordon field

I am working my way through Peskin and Schroeder section 2.2 and trying to show that $T^{00}$ is equivalent to the expression $\frac{1}{2}\pi^2-\frac{1}{2}(\nabla \phi)^2-\frac{1}{2}m^2\phi^2$ in ...
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63 views

How is the electromagnetic Lagrangian derived?

I've been studying from the book called "path integral formulation" by Feynman and Hibbs. In chapter 4, problem 4.2, they refer to the electromagnetic Lagrangian as: $$ L=\frac{1}{2} m \dot{x}^2+ ...
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Computation of $T^{\mu\nu}$ from Lagrangian density $\mathscr{L} $

I am trying to understand how upper and lower indices are connected when computing the energy-momentum tensor. In particular, I found the simple problem where the Lagrangian density is given as ...
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58 views

Bead on a rotating hoop [closed]

This is problem 10.13 from Fowles and Cassiday, 7e. A bead of constant mass m is constrained to slide along a thin, circular hoop of radius $l$ that rotates with constant angular velocity $\omega$ ...
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Invariance of the QED Lagrangian under charge conjugation

Is it true that the QED Lagrangian $$\mathcal{L} = \bar{\psi}(i\gamma^\mu D_\mu-m) \psi $$ is invariant under charge conjugation? $$\begin{align} \psi &\mapsto -i(\gamma^0 \gamma^2 \psi)^T\\ ...
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Lagrangian density with explicit $x_\mu$ dependence

In the Quantum Field Theory book, by Ryder, he says that a Lagrangian density of a field can also be an explicit function of $x_\mu$ if the field interacts with external sources. Can someone give an ...
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32 views

What is it that Lagrangian density with only bilinear terms always corresponds to free field theory?

Is there an intuitive proof of this fact? (Maybe connected in some way to Central Limit Theorem?).
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Alternative formulations of Lagrangians and Hamiltonian? [closed]

We have the Hamiltonian, a concept that was based on trajectories being used extensively in General Relativity, Electromagnetism, Quantum Mechanics, Classical Physics and lot more. Where we use the ...
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56 views

Does an on-shell symmetry necessarily change the Lagrangian by a total derivative?

This is a follow-up question to: Does a symmetry necessarily leave the action invariant? Qmechanic writes here: Here the word off-shell means that the Lagrangian eqs. of motion are not assumed to ...
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Does a symmetry necessarily leave the action invariant?

A symmetry maps a configuration with stationary action to another configuration with stationary action. However, does it necessarily preserve the value of the action exactly? It seems that it should ...
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25 views

Infinitesimal transformations and Poisson brackets [duplicate]

I want to understand how bracket operations in general are related to symmetry and infinitesimal transformations (in hindsight of quantumfieldtheory), so I calculated an example with a particle that ...
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54 views

Deriving Snell's law via Lagrangian mechanics

A particle moves with kinetic energy $K_1$ in a region where its potential energy has a constant value $U_1$. After crossing a certain plane, its potential energy changes discontinuously to a new ...
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In the context of quantum field theory, what does it mean to “couple” something?

Suppose I have the following Lagrangian density \begin{equation} \mathcal{L} = - \frac{1}{4} F_{\mu\nu}F^{\mu\nu} \end{equation} The lecture notes I an reading suggest if I want to "couple to ...
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Lagrangian of a particle on a torus. Calculations right? [closed]

I just want to calculate the motion of a particle on a torus. But it involves some complex calculation. I just want to see if I did everything right. $$f(\phi,\theta)= \begin{pmatrix} (R+ r \cos ...
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How do quantum fields really couple?

The term "coupling" between quantum fields refers to certain terms in the Lagrangian (density) $\mathcal{L}$ where the respective field operators appear together, e.g. $g\phi^\dagger\psi $ with ...
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Conserved quantities in the cart and pendulum problem

A problem on an assignment I'm doing deals with a cart of mass m1 which can slide frictionlessly along the x-axis. Suspended from the cart by a string of length l is a mass m2, which is constrained to ...
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Noether current scale transform of EM

I'm trying to solve a question about scale tranform of free EM. I got the next trnaform rules (these two line where EDITed later) $\delta x = -bx$ $\delta A = bA$ the current I got $D^\mu = ...
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How will SR EM Lagrangian change if we find a magnetic charge?

When we introduce electromagnetic field in Special Relativity, we add a term of $$-\frac e c A_idx^i$$ into Lagrangian. When we then derive equations of motion, we get the magnetic field that is ...
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Lagrange's equation implying Newton's 2nd law?

The typical first application of Lagrange's equation is showing that it implies Newton's law for a particle whose Lagrangian is $L=\frac{1}{2}mv^2-V(x)$. Plugging this Lagrangian into Lagrange's ...
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Hamiltonian System Outside Physics [closed]

What are good examples of Hamiltonian systems outside physics? I heard there are financial systems that can be described by a Lagrangian, and was interested to see some examples
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Help understanding electromagnetism integral from exercise in MTW? [closed]

I was skimming through Misner, Thorne and Wheeler's book Gravitation looking for exercises to challenge myself with and came across the following exercise on page 178: Verify that the variational ...
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80 views

Given a QFT Hamiltonian, is there a unique Lagrangian?

Consider a QFT in one spatial dimension specified by the following Hamiltonian density: $\mathcal{H} = -i \phi^\dagger \frac{\partial}{\partial x} \phi + V(\phi^\dagger,\phi)$ where $\phi$ is a ...
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“Find the Lagrangian of the theory”

I've heard a few of my professors throw around the term "finding the Lagrangian of a theory". What exactly is this referring to. From what I understand it seems that you determine invariances ...
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63 views

How to calculate the classical on-shell action for a harmonic oscillator? [closed]

So, short and sweet, I've been reading the path integrals book by Feynman and Hibbs, and one of the elementary problems they ask is to calculate the classical on-shell$^1$ action of a harmonic ...
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Lagrangian when there are gyroscopic effects

I'm having trouble with this: We have a system that consists of a thin rod (approx. 1-dimensional) and a disk. The rod is free to oscillate in a plane with one of its ending points fixed. The disk is ...
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152 views

Noether's Theorem: Lie algebra, Lie groups

I've had a brief look through similar threads on this topic to see if my question has already been answered, but I didn't find quite what I was looking for, perhaps it is because I'm finding it hard ...
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1answer
54 views

What is “momentum density” and why it important to QFT?

I am reading Quantum Field Theory for the Gifted Amateur. On page 98, they provide a summary of a basic canonical quantization procedure: Step I: Write down a classical Lagrangian density in ...
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Trying to understand relativistic action of a massive point particle

I got badly lost in derivation of relativistic formulas for energy and momentum. I stumbled upon relativistic action as follows (which should explain relativistic motion of a classical particle): $$ ...
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1answer
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What assumptions about the action do we make or give up in transitioning from classical mechanics to quantum mechanics to quantum field theory?

I am reading Quantum Field Theory for the Gifted Amateur and I feel I don't have a good grasp as to how the Lagrangian and the action are used differently in (1) classical mechanics (2) quantum ...
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Do “typical” QFT's lack a lagrangian description?

Sometimes as a result of learning new things you realize that you are incredibly confused about something you thought you understood very well, and that perhaps your intuition needs to be revised. ...
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75 views

Question on Einstein's derivation of the equation of the geodesic line?

While reading one of the original paper on general relativity written by Albert Einstein, titled the foundations of general relativity, I came across the following passage in pages 167-168, or pages ...
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A question on Lagrangian dynamics an the velocity phase space

I've struggled in the past with understanding why we can treat position and velocity as independent variables in the Lagrangian, but I think I may have finally become a bit more enlightened on the ...
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Introducing Randomness into Lagrangian Mechanics

Let's say at $t_o$ we have a ball rolling along a (rigid) tight rope. Is there anyway that we can solve for the trajectory of the ball knowing that at some $ t' $ there will be a random constraint ...
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Why does the classical electrodynamics Lagrangian density equation have a “field” term and an “interaction” term?

On Wikipedia's page on classical electrodynamics, they state the Lagrangian density equation as follows \begin{equation} \mathcal{L} = \mathcal{L}_{\text{field}} + \mathcal{L}_{\text{int}} = ...
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Why is the gravitational potential energy of ideal uniform massive spring $mgx/2$, not $mgx$?

In this Wikipedia page, $$L= T-V = \frac{1}{2}\frac{m}{3}\dot{x}^2 + \frac{1}{2}M \dot{x}^2 - \frac{1}{2} k x^2 - \frac{m g x}{2} - M g x$$ where $mgx/2$ refers to gravitational potential energy of ...
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Is the term “Lagrangian density” specific to spacetime?

Wikipedia talks about Lagrangian densities here. But they never actually say whether they're just applying the concept to spacetime or that Lagrangian density is the analog for Lagrangians but for ...
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Locally accessible dimensions of configuration space

I am reading a book called "Structure and Interpretation of Classical Mechanics" by MIT Press.While discussing configuration space and degrees of freedom,the authors remark the following: Strictly ...
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52 views

Stress-energy tensor for a fermionic Lagrangian in curved spacetime - which one appears in the EFE?

So, suppose I have an action of the type: $$ S =\int \text{d}^4 x\sqrt{-g}( \frac{i}{2} (\bar{\psi} \gamma_\mu \nabla^\mu\psi - \nabla^\mu\bar{\psi} \gamma_\mu \psi) +\alpha \bar{\psi} \gamma_\mu ...
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Confusion with potential in simple pendulum

I'm a maths student taking a course in classical mechanics and I'm having some confusion with the definition of a potential. If we consider a simple pendulum then the forces acting on the end are ...
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104 views

How do you build a Lagrangian in particle/nuclear physics? (A specific example)

I know that the terms in the Lagrangian needs to be scalars (with respect to Lorentz symmetry etc.). Also I know that [see C. G. Tully (EPP) p. 85] in general, for $\psi$ in the fundamental ...
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62 views

Lagrangian mechanics and initial conditions vs boundary conditions

It bothers me that many basic books on the classical mechanics don't discuss the following difference between "Newton's laws" and the "Principle of stationary action". Newton's laws can predict the ...
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Temperature as the independent variable of Lagrangian

I was thinking about applications of the Lagrangian and I started to toy with some ideas and tried to come up with interesting twists. Immediately I thought it would be interesting to use temperature ...
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29 views

Can any global symmetry be promoted to the local symmetry? [duplicate]

Can any global symmetry be promoted to the local symmetry? Does there exist counterexample?