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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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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208 views

Deriving Newton's first law from the principle of least action

Newton's first law states that if the net force on an object is zero, then this object moves with constant velocity. I'm interested in the derivation of this law from the principle of least action. ...
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1answer
34 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 ...
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1answer
38 views

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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35 views

A question on elementary Lagrangian mechanics(perhaps a bit of maths) [duplicate]

I am stuck with this question Consider the action, from $t=0$ to $t=1$, of a ball dropped from rest. From the Euler-Lagrange equation, we know that $y(t)={-gt^2 \over 2}$ yields a stationary value ...
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1answer
52 views

Landau's Ideal fluild one dimentional flow equation

There is a similar Phys.SE question here, but I still didn't get the idea. The problem is: Write down the equations for one-dimensional motion of an ideal fluid in terms of the variables $a$ and ...
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29 views

Particle slides on incline where incline angle increases with rate $\omega$: why does kinetic energy have a term $(1/2)m(\omega^2 x^2)$?

A particle slides on a smooth inclined plane whose inclination is $\theta$ is increasing at a constant rate $w$. If $\theta = 0$, at time t = 0 at which time the particle start from rest, Find the ...
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2answers
65 views

What can be inferred about this particle from a Lagrangian?

If Lagrangian, $\mathscr L = \dot{q}^2 - q \dot{q}$. Then what can be inferred about the particle? Simply that it is a free particle or something else?
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66 views

Noether's theorem: meaning of transformation of coordinates

I have a question regarding Noether's theorem. In our introductory QFT class (which is based on the book by Michele Maggiore) we have derived the Noether currents in the same form as displayed in this ...
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1answer
31 views

Potential Energy of two rolling cylinders [closed]

I want to get the Lagrangian of a System of two cylinders, the smaller (mass $m$ and radius $r$) rolling on the bigger one (radius $R$). There is a solution, which tells me, that ...
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1answer
58 views

From Noether's theorem to canonical Energy-Momentum tensor using translations

In this text that I am reading it says that the transformation $\delta \phi(x)$ is a symmetry if the Lagrangian changes by a total derivative: $$\delta \mathcal{L}= \partial_{\mu}F^{\mu} . $$ From ...
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3answers
193 views

Energy-Momentum Tensor for Electromagnetism in Curved Space

$\newcommand{\l}{\mathcal L} \newcommand{\g}{\sqrt{-g}}$$\newcommand{\fdv}[2]{\frac{\delta #1}{\delta #2}}$I want to calculate the energy-momentum tensor in curved free space by functional ...
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3answers
109 views

Where does the $(\ell + x)^2\dot\theta^2$ term come from in the Lagrangian of a spring pendulum?

I am reading some notes about Lagrangian mechanics. I don't understand equation 6.9, which gives the Lagrangian for a spring pendulum (a massive particle on one end a spring). $$T = ...
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0answers
31 views

Lagrangian of non-linear 3 mass, 2 spring system

Given 3 masses connected by 2 springs with the angle of intersection constant, but the springs themselves bending. Young's modulus, which is a variation of Hook's Law, applies to the flexing that ...
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3answers
82 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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167 views

What are the equations of motion for the scalar field in the tetrad formalism?

The action of a massless scalar field in curved spacetime is given by: \begin{equation} S(\phi)=\int d^{4}x \sqrt{-g}\left(g^{\mu\nu}\phi_{,\mu}\phi_{,\nu}\right) \end{equation} Now the action can ...
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25 views

Beyond the third time derivative [duplicate]

Why do texts on classical mechanics never mention any derivative of position beyond the jerk, while at the same time being general in the sense of using of generalized coordinates?
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2answers
27 views

Generalised velocities enough to be deterministic in Lagrangian mechanics?

In classical determinism we need to know $2n$ quantities of our system and the equation of motion to predict it's future. In Lagrangian mechanics this is equivalent to knowing $q$ and $\dot q$, the ...
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32 views

Inclined plane - constraint - equation of motion

A mass point of mass m moves frictionlessly down an inclide slope under influence of gravity. Solve the equations of motion and determine the constraint with the use of the lagrange equation of ...
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2answers
51 views

Equilibrium points in a Lagangian system [closed]

In my notes I read: "In a Lagrangian system where $q_1,\ldots,q_d$ are the free coordinates and $U$ is the potential, if a point is an equilibrium point for the Euler-Lagrange equations, then at ...
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2answers
83 views

Problem with Lagrangian density [closed]

Ok, I tried sometimes already, however I can't see my mistake. What I need to do is to find the field equation of $$ L = -(\partial_\mu A^\nu)(\partial_\nu A^\mu) + \frac{m^2}{2} A_\mu A^\mu + ...
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2answers
95 views

What is an effective potential in classical mechanics?

What is an effective potential in classical mechanics? I have read the wikipedia article and David Tong's lectures notes, but I didn't understand how an effective potential simplifies a situation or ...
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2answers
220 views

Why do we consider Lagrangian densities in QFT?

My question is: Why do we consider Lagrangian densities in QFT (as opposed to Lagrangians as in classical mechanics)? Is it simply because of the following? We wish the theories to be Lorentz ...
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1answer
47 views

Exact meaning of locality and its implications on the formulation of a QFT

As far as I understand it, locality in physics is the statement that interactions can only occur between physical objects if the spacetime interval separating them is null or time-like. Thus, if the ...
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1answer
93 views

Problem to find field equations with Euler-Lagrange in field theory [closed]

I have the Euler-Lagrange equations, as stated in field-theory: $$\partial_\nu \left(\frac{\partial L}{\partial (\partial_\nu \phi_\rho)}\right) - \frac{\partial L}{\partial \phi_\rho}=0$$ However ...
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How to write the Lagrangian for a body that exhibits gravitation?

Can anyone tell me how one actually goes about writing the Lagrangian for a mass that exhibits gravity? If I wanted to write the Lagrangian for, say, a spherical mass in space that curves the ...
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1answer
77 views

Redefinitions of Lagrangians using EOM

I am trying to understand an statement of this paper. In section 2 this Lagrangian is introduced ...
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2answers
149 views

Is the Legendre transformation a unique choice in analytical mechanics?

Consider a Lagrangian $L(q_i, \dot{q_i}, t) = T - V$, for kinetic energy $T$ and generalized potential $V$, on a set of $n$ independent generalized coordinates $\{q_i\}$. Assuming the system is ...
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1answer
35 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
90 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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Degenaracy in mass of $8$ and $27$ reps of $SU(3)$ in Coleman's Aspects of Symmetry [closed]

In Coleman's Aspect of symmetry he proposes an amusing problem in the first chapter. It asks us to consider a set of eight pseudo-scalar fields transforming in the adjoint representation of $SU(3)$. ...
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1answer
32 views

How to check if some term in the Lagrangian involving gauge bosons is gauge invariant without explicit computations?

Normally (for fermions and scalars) we can simply use the decomposition of tensor products of gauge group representations to find invariant terms that we can write into the Lagrangian. For example ...
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41 views

Doubts taking the second functional derivative of the Klein Gordon action

I have very little background with functional derivatives and I would like to clarify some issues. I am trying to compute the second functional derivative of the Klein Gordon action expressed in real ...
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1answer
66 views

Analytical mechanics with SR

Is there an analytical mechanics with SR? Of course you can write down the Lagrangian and Hamiltonian of a free particle. What about non-free? Are there any problems? To be specific: what would the ...
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2answers
141 views

In QFT how do you write down the most general interactions?

This past year I took a QFT class and I now feel comfortable solving scattering problems, but I am still a bit perplexed by how physicists write down a Lagrangian in the first place. In particular, ...
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1answer
78 views

How to write the Lagrangian in terms of a projection

We know that $$ L=\frac{1}{2}\left(\partial_{\mu} A_{\nu} \partial^{\mu} A^{\nu}-\partial_{\mu} A_{\nu} \partial^{\nu} A^{\mu}\right) $$ But how do we write the Lagrangian in the following way: ...
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1answer
70 views

A course in Lagrangian Mechanics [duplicate]

I would like to know: what are some of the best introductory books to Lagrangian Mechanics?
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74 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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26 views

How is the electromagnetic tensor expanded?

The electromagnetic tensor is given by $F_{\mu \nu} = \partial_{\mu}A_{\nu} - \partial_{\nu}A_{\mu}$, and it appears in the Lagrangian as $L = -\frac{1}{4}F_{\mu\nu}^2 - A_{\mu}J_{\mu}$. The text I'm ...
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1answer
41 views

Apparent discrepancy between Lagrange field equation and Maxwell equation [closed]

I am deriving Maxwell's equations from a Lagrange field equation and have come across something I can not figure out no matter how hard I try. The problem is in the signs. If we take the Lagrange ...
3
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1answer
82 views

Confusion about imposing constraint in the action

I'm totally confused by one thing. I know that I probably shouldn't be confused about that, but at the moment I don't quite know what fails in the following: Suppose we have a particle of unit mass ...
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3answers
223 views

Constructing Lagrangian from the Hamiltonian

Given the Lagrangian $L$ for a system, we can construct the hamiltonian $H$ using the definition $H=\sum\limits_{i}p_i\dot{q}_i-L$ where $p_i=\frac{\partial L}{\partial \dot{q}_i}$. Therefore, to ...
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76 views

A classically charged point particle interacting with electromagnetism and gravity

Consider a classically charged point particle interacting with electromagnetism and gravity. The relevant dynamical variables are $\chi^\mu (\tau)$ of the particle, the electromangetic potential ...
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1answer
106 views

How is the Lagrangian defined in GR?

Reading about the Schwarzschild metric in general relativity I see that sometimes $$L=g_{\mu\nu}\dot{x}^{\mu}\dot{x}^{\nu}$$ and sometimes $$L=\sqrt{g_{\mu\nu}\dot{x}^{\mu}\dot{x}^{\nu}}.$$ Which is ...
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2answers
95 views

Derivation of law of inertia from Lagrangian method (Landau)

I'm reading Landau's Book. He tries to conclude the law of inertia from the Lagrange equations. For that, he argues (by nice suppositions about space and time), that the lagrangian must depend only ...
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1answer
49 views

Q: Goldstein chapter 1 problem 16: Finding the generalized potential from the force

I have started to work through Herbert Goldstein's, Charles Poole's and John Safko's Classical mechanics, and I am having a bit of trouble with one of the problems (chapter 1 problem 16). The problem ...
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Morin's Spring Pendulum gravitational potential [duplicate]

I am trying to do Morin's Lagrangian example of a spring pendulum. I can't quite figure out how he derived the gravitational potential energy as $-mg(l+x)cos \theta$. The closest I could get was $mg( ...
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1answer
29 views

Bead on a rotating wire - Conservation of angular momentum, fix points

Lets consider a wire in the x-y plane which rotates with constant angular velocity $\omega$. The coordinates of a bead, which is forced to stay on this wire, can then be expressed as $$x=r \cos(\phi) ...
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1answer
53 views

Equations of motion for Polyakov action

In Polchinski 2.1.10 we have the action in terms of complex coordinates $$S = \frac{1}{2\pi \alpha'} \int d^{2}z \partial X^{\mu}\bar{\partial}X_{\mu}\tag{2.1.10}$$ This should be a rather trivial ...
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1answer
54 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 ...