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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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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37 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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12 views

Reformulating a traditional minimization problem as a stationary action problem [on hold]

A famous problem in financial theory is formulated as follows: $$\min_{\mathbf{w}} \sigma^2 \:\:\:\:\:s.t. \:\:\mathbf{w'}\mathbf{1}=1 \:\:\:\: \mathbf{w'}\mathbf{y}=k$$ Where lower case bold faced ...
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35 views

Particle on a sphere - lagrange [on hold]

A particle of mass m is on top of a sphere of radius $R$. A small displacement makes the particle slide frictionlessly down the sphere. a)Set up the lagrange equations of the first kind for ...
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36 views

Mass point on a circle - lagrange [on hold]

A mass point of mass m moves on the circle $x^2+y^2=R^2$ and $z=0$. No external forces are acting. Solve the equation of motions and determine the constraint force with the lagrange equations of ...
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1answer
60 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
127 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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74 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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57 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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71 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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20 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
38 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 ...
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69 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
208 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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74 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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23 views

Use of D'Alembert's Principle to find max. kinetic energy - velocity - height [duplicate]

Consider a one-dimensional, force-free motion of a rocket with constant mass emission $\mu$ and constant outflow velocity c of the gases. At $t=0$ let $m=m_0$ and $v=0$. a) When is the ...
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1answer
101 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
84 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
41 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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12 views

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
24 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
51 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
51 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 ...
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2answers
52 views

Why are L4 and L5 Lagrange points stable as points and not part of a circle?

I read this Phys.SE thread which is similar Why are L4 and L5 lagrangian points stable? but I did not want to necro that thread. It seems that most discussions of a three body problem are presented ...
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1answer
46 views

Using tensors on Lagrangian and Hamiltonian

We can write the Lagrangian (with $n$ generalized coordinates) using the following expression: ...
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1answer
94 views

Dirac bracket for the Majorana Lagrangian

Note: See update below. Consider the Majorana Lagrangian $$\mathcal{L}=-\psi ^{\mathrm{T}}\mathrm{i}% \gamma ^{0}\left( \gamma ^{\rho }\partial _{\rho }+m\right) \psi ,\tag{1}$$ where $% \psi \in ...
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1answer
85 views

Trivial conserved Noether's current with second derivatives

I'm considering a symmetry transformation on a Lagrangian $$ \delta A = \int L(q +\delta q, \dot{q} + \delta \dot{q} , \ddot{q} + \delta \ddot{q}) dt $$ the general variation takes the form $$ ...
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3answers
67 views

Hamilton's Principle - achieving Hamilton equations

Consider the action function: $$\mathcal{S}(t)=\int_{t_1}^{t_2}\mathcal{L}(q_i,\dot{q_i},t) dt$$ where $\mathcal{L}$ is the Lagrangian of the system. The Hamiltonian is defined by the following ...
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0answers
109 views

Ghost in the quantization of relativistic particle

It is well known that in the quantization of certain relativistic theories such electromagnetism or relativistic string negative norm states could arise when quantizing covariantly. Acting with ...
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1answer
66 views

Elementary question about global supersymmetry of a worldsheet [closed]

I'm reading chapter 4 of the book by Green, Schwarz and Witten. They consider an action $$ S = -\frac{1}{2\pi} \int d^2 \sigma \left( \partial_\alpha X^\mu \partial^\alpha X_\mu - i \bar \psi^\mu ...
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2answers
57 views

First fundamental form in the Gibbons-Hawking-York boundary term

Let me expose my problem, I am trying to perform the explicit variation of the Gibbons-Hawking-York boundary term, $$S_{GH}=\int_{\partial M} d^{n-1}x\sqrt{\left|h\right|}K$$ The problem I have is ...
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2answers
137 views

Minimizing the Lagrangian action of an impossible problem

I'm working my way through Structure and Interpretation of Classical Mechanics (SICM), and am stuck on an exercise in Section 1.4: Exercise 1.6. Minimizing action: Suppose we try to obtain a ...
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35 views

Does the principle of stationary action always work? [duplicate]

Give some Lagrangian we use the principle of stationary action to find the desired euqations of motion for something (e.g. a field). A lot of modern physics seems to be based on the principle of ...
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2answers
117 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 ...
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1answer
106 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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77 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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1answer
28 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
98 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 ...
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1answer
55 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 ...
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1answer
54 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
205 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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636 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 ...
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2answers
90 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
77 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
158 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
42 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 ...
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1answer
119 views

Why two different Lagrangians to derive geodesic equations?

I'm trying (very early stages) to understand the derivation of the geodesic equation ...
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1answer
53 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
51 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
42 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 ...