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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Why should physical theories always have a Lagrangian formalism? [duplicate]

I've often heard that every physical theory has some kind of Lagrangian formalism, or a formalism in terms of a principle of stationary action. The Standard Model has one, General Relativity has one, ...
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Equivalence of functional and partial derivatives

I am trying to derive Newton's second law from the principle of least action, that is, setting the functional derivative $\frac{\delta S}{\delta x(t)}$ equal to 0. $$S = \int dt' \left[ \frac{m}{2} ...
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Two Particles in a Harmonic Oscillator with repulsive short-range potential

Do bear with me, I am attempting to learn to write some simulations on the computer and learn some simple MD, so I defined sort of a toy problem. I have two particles confined in a Harmonic Potential ...
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48 views

$U(1)$ local gauge invariance in QED [duplicate]

While constructing Lagrangian of QED, we don't add the mass term for photon $\dfrac{1}{2} m^{2}A_{\mu}A^{\mu}$ because gauge invariance does not allow. I want to ask, whether "$\bf{Theoretically}$", ...
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157 views

Obtain the Lagrangian from the system of coupled equation

In this particular paper, "Interaction between a moving mirror and radiation pressure: A Hamiltonian formulation" by C.K.Law, PhysRevA.51.2537 \begin{equation} ...
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Is there any reason for principle of least action to be true? [duplicate]

My question is not rigidly related to physics. The principle of least actions says that for any dynamical system there exists a function parameterized by $q$'s and $\dot{q}$'s such that the line ...
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Why Kink can not tunnel to vacuum, and is topologically stable?

Why the kink $$\phi(x)=v\tanh(\frac{x}{\xi}) ,$$ can not tunnel into vacuum $+v$ or $-v$ (Spontaneous symmetry breaking vacuum). From the boundary condition ($x\rightarrow \pm\infty, ...
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Lagrangian from Path Integral

Suppose I somehow know propagator for a given quantum mechanical system but I don't happen to know either the Lagrangian or Hamiltonian. (For simplicity, assume that this is non-relativistic.) Is ...
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Is there a Lagrangian that can lead to the Rayleigh-Jeans law?

Is there a way to derive the Rayleigh-Jean's law using classical statistical mechanics only? On the internet there is a common way to arrive at the equation by using concepts in electrodynamics. This ...
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Configurations and configuration manifold in Lagrangian Optics

In Classical Mechanics, given a certain system of particles it is possible to consider the configuration manifold $Q$ which is a differentiable manifold whose points are possible configurations of the ...
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58 views

Appearance of the Jerk Term in Dynamics of Mass-Spring-Damper System

I am coming from the computer science territory and have not a long trace in mechanics. My background in derivation of the system dynamics could be summarized with utilization of the ...
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Noether's 2nd Theorem and Local Gauge Identities

I am trying to derive the so called Gauge Identities: \begin{equation} D_\nu\frac{\delta S}{\delta\phi} = 0 \end{equation} Where $D_\nu$ is an operator involving derivatives and $\frac{\delta ...
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Do time-invariant Hamiltonians define closed systems?

In classical mechanics, every time-invariant Hamiltonian represents a closed dynamical system? Can every closed dynamical system be represented as a time-invariant Hamiltonian? Or are there closed ...
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Finding the configuration space and degrees of freedom of spherical pendulum

Suppose we have a spherical pendulum tethered to the origin in $\mathbb{R}^3$ where the length of the rod is a time varying function $l(t)$. What is the configuration space of this system, and how ...
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54 views

Is local chiral symmetry qualitatively the same as gauge symmetries?

I am confused by the role that local chiral symmetry plays in chiral perturbation theory. For the case of chiral QCD with three quark flavors, the Lagrangian is invariant under global ...
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Hermiticity of Dirac operator in curved spacetime

The Dirac Lagrangian in curved spacetime is usually given by \begin{equation} \mathcal{L} = i\bar{\Psi}\gamma^a e^{\mu}_a(\partial_\mu + \frac{1}{4}\omega_{\mu bc}\gamma^b\gamma^c)\Psi \end{equation} ...
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What is a macro world example of “action”? [duplicate]

What is a real world example of action? This question originally came to me when learning about Planck's constant $h$. Planck's constant $h$ is measured in Joule * Seconds. I know Joule * Seconds can ...
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Why don't all free particles lose their kinetic energy?

I'm currently studying Action. I've been reading about how a particle has particular probabilities of ending at an infinite number of events. Say I have a free particle that isn't experiencing any ...
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157 views

Non-inertial frames in Lagrangian mechanics?

Building on this Phys.SE post I am interested in how non-inertial frames can be considered in Lagrangian mechanics. My understanding is that changing the reference frame causes a transformation of the ...
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46 views

What is meant by invariant under change of coordinates **to first order**?

I am studying elementary Lagrangian mechanics, and I'm a bit confused about the what's meant by invariance of the Lagrangian under change of coordinates to first order. More specifically, Noether's ...
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57 views

On the connection between forces and the principle of stationary action

Feynman tries to account for the relation between the principle of stationary action, which is a statement about the whole path of a particle, and Newton's second law, which is a statement about the ...
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Determination of the ground state of a field theory

Consider the Spontaneous symmetry breaking in the theory $$\mathcal{L}=\frac{1}{2}\partial_\mu\phi\partial^\mu\phi-\frac{\mu^2}{2}\phi^2+\frac{\lambda}{4!}\phi^4.$$ By the ground state of a ...
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Can the sign of metric change physics?

Consider the Lagrangian of a massless real scalar (classical field) in $\phi(\textbf{x},t)$: $$\mathcal{L}=\frac{1}{2}\partial^\mu\phi\partial_\mu\phi$$ The Hamiltonian density in two different ...
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Virtual work (generalized forces) for rotation with Euler angles

Here is what we know from virtual work: \begin{equation} \delta W=\sum_{i=1}^N{\vec F_i\cdot\delta\vec r_{i}} \end{equation} Where $N$ is the number of bodies in the system. I am considering a ...
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Formulating the Lagrangian in terms of invariant quantities

Consider a closed system consisting of $N$ point particles, whose Lagrangian is given in the standard way, by the total kinetic energy minus the potential energy: $\mathcal{L}(\dot{q},q):= T(\dot{q}) ...
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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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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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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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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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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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53 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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115 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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231 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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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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94 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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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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161 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 ...