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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Under what circumstances will a particle in a paraboloid oscillates harmonically around the lowest point? [on hold]

A particle of mass $m$ is moving in the gravitational field $g$. It is confined to move frictionlessly on the surface of the paraboloid $z(r,\phi):=a\cdot r^2$. Here, $a>0$ is a constant. The ...
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1answer
58 views

Why does $\frac{d\tau}{d\sigma} = L$?

I am given a (3+1)-dimensional spacetime that has the line element \begin{equation} ds^2 = -\left(1-\frac{2M}{r}\right)dt^2 + \left(1-\frac{2M}{r}\right)^{-1} dr^2 + r^2 d\phi^2 \end{equation} ...
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26 views

Legendre Transformation for multiple variables

I need to show that for $F(x_1, .., x_n)$, the Legendre transformation is, $$G(s_1, ..., s_n) = \sum_{i}^{N} x_i s_i - F$$ where $$s_i = \frac{\partial F}{\partial x_i}$$ and has the property that ...
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2answers
49 views

Confusion about what the Euler-Lagrange equation says

I roughly understand the concept of the Lagrangian $L = T - V$ as well as the idea of stationary action $\delta \mathcal{S} =0$. However, I am confused what the Euler-Lagrange equation actually says. ...
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43 views

Finding out the equation of motion [on hold]

To find out the equation of motion we generally evaluate the $$\frac{d}{dt} \frac{\partial L}{\partial \dot{x}^a}- \frac{\partial L}{\partial x}$$ But what to do in the lagrangian if $L= m ...
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2answers
123 views

Can a conservative field produce a torque?

I am asking whether the following Lagrangian for a point moving in a conservative field, can be correct : $L(r, v, \omega) = \frac {mv^2}{2} + \frac {I \omega^2}{2} - U(r)$. $r$ is the distance ...
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1answer
47 views

Lagrange’s equation: from energies to Lagrangian form

I don't understand how we step from $$\frac{d}{dt}\frac{\partial T}{\partial \dot q_j} - \frac{\partial T}{\partial q_j} = -\frac{\partial V}{\partial q_j}$$ to $$\frac{d}{dt}\frac{\partial ...
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1answer
71 views

Why is $\mu_0$ missing in EM formulas in Peskin and Schroeder?

In this post, $\hbar=c=1$ units are used throughout. It is well known that the action of classical electromagnetism is given by $$\mathcal S_{\text{Maxwell}} = \int ...
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1answer
69 views

Using Lagrangian mechanics instead of Newtonian mechanics

When studying advanced classical mechanics, we all study about Lagrangians and the Euler-Lagrange equations and their importance. Of course, the Lagrangian is calculated based on the potential and ...
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16 views

Lagrangian with a boundary contribution, external work and interaction

I am considering a linear second order partial differential equation of the form \begin{align} F(q,p)&=-a\,q-\nabla\cdot p=0\\ p(q,\nabla q)&=b\cdot\nabla q \end{align} with $a$ scalar and $b$ ...
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1answer
79 views

Solving the Kepler problem

I'm trying to solve the Kepler problem using the Lagrangian, $$L = \frac{1}{2} m (\dot{r}^2 + r^2 \dot{\phi}^2) - U(r) $$ which after quite a bit of fiddling with, by noting that the angular ...
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3answers
102 views

Prerequisites for classical mechanics by Susskind

So I am an undergraduate in Electrical Engineering. We had a course on Physics in our freshman year which is equivalent to Classical Mechanics I as taught in MIT. I am interested in studying advanced ...
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1answer
117 views

Uses for Action from Lagrangian Mechanics

In my course on Lagrangian/Hamiltonian mechanics I noticed that we dealt with finding the stationary point of the change in action $ \delta S $ and we were never really doing anything with $ S $ ...
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1answer
54 views

Lagrangian under time transformation

Given a Lagrangian $$L(q,\dot{q},t)=\sum_{ij}a_{ij}(q)\dot{q}_i\dot{q}_j-V(q_1,q_2,\cdots,q_f)$$show that under a time transformation $t=\lambda T$ ($\lambda$ = constant), the invariance of ...
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2answers
44 views

Conservation of energy when the Lagrangian includes a potential function

When proving that the homogeneity of time leads to the conservation of energy, (This is the proof from Landau for the case when there is no field present.) (Uses the Einstein's summation ...
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2answers
61 views

Peskin and Schroeder passive and active translation

In peskin and Schroeder's qft book, in chapter two, they're discussing Noether's theorem with respect to translations of co-ordinates. They describe and "infinitesimal" translation $x^\mu\rightarrow ...
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2answers
145 views

Trouble with Landau & Lifshitz

Hello I have a quick question on what I have been reading in Landau & Lifshitz's book on classical mechanics. I am in the very beginning of the book and I am having trouble with his derivation on ...
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185 views

Is the principle of least action fully equivalent to the Euler-Lagrange equations?

I am citing from Landau and Lifschitz, this statement that will seem to you well-known, trivial, etc: "Between these positions, (i.e. $q_1$ and $q_2$) the system moves then in such a way that the ...
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1answer
70 views

How to diagonalise the Lagrangian mass term with SU(4) symmetry and self-dual tensors

I should write the mass term of the Lagrangian with global SO(4) symmetry in tensor representation with anti-symmetric tensors and then diagonalise this term with defining a new set of tensors ...
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1answer
35 views

Direction of velocity confusion on inclined plane

In Taylor's book Classical Mechanics, pg. 259, he works through the following example: Consider the following block and wedge system: The block ($m$) is free to slide on the wedge and the wedge (mass ...
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30 views

Determine generalised coordinates in Lagrangian problems

Can someone teach me how to find out generalised coordinates in a particular system? I've been struggling few days about this...here are 2 cases... A body with mass $m$ is lying on a smooth, ...
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1answer
84 views

Does time invariance conclude conservation of energy? [closed]

I find it hard to understand that time-translation invariance necessarily implies conservation of energy. As I understand it, Noether's theorem says that there is an energy conservation because the ...
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0answers
27 views

Lagrangians with higher derivatives than Klein-Gordon [duplicate]

Has anyone ever tried to work with Lagrangians involving higher derivatives? The Klein-Gordon Lagrangian only involves $(\frac{\partial}{\partial t})^2$ and $\nabla^2$ terms, what about third and ...
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0answers
43 views

Where does the Lagrangian come from? [duplicate]

It always puzzles me whenever I work on Lagrangian equations. It is easy to see that $L=T-V$ yields the correct equations of motion, but the question is, how do you get to that formula? Is it trial ...
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1answer
48 views

Deriving the Canonical Energy Momentum Tensor

In the Mathematics for Physics of Stone and Goldbart the canonical energy momentum tensor is derived by the action principle as follows. To the action of the form $$ S=\int ...
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47 views

Ostrogradski’s theorem's proof

I am looking for a proof of the next theorem: "If the higher order time derivative Lagrangian is non-degenerate, there is at least one linear instability in the Hamiltonian of this system." Where ...
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46 views

Is there a general formula to translate from *canonical* to *physical* momentum?

In Peskin and Schroeder, after having derived a conserved tensor $T^{\mu \nu}$ associated with translations in space-time (the stress-energy tensor), it is said that the charges $\int d^3 x T^{0i}$: ...
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56 views

Field Lagrangian <--> Particle Lagrangian

The action-functionals describing the motion $\mathbf{x}:[a,b]\to \mathbb{R}^3$ of a free particle of mass $m$ and the evolution $\varphi:[a,b]\times \Omega\to \mathbb{R}$ of a free scalar field of ...
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1answer
38 views

Obtaining momentum operator $P^\mu$ from Lagrangian and energy-momentum tensor $T^{\mu\nu}$

I am pretty new to quantum field theory. Given the Lagrangian density, $$ \mathcal{L} = \frac{1}{2} ( \partial_\mu \phi ) ( \partial^\mu \phi ) - \frac{1}{2} m^2 \phi^2 $$ and its energy-momentum ...
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1answer
139 views

Why do we need spontaneous symmetry breaking in Lagrangian formalism?

I have always struggled with the concept of spontaneous symmetry breaking. It seems to me that many others don't find it very intuitive as well, but that could be just me having difficulties with the ...
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1answer
44 views

Lagrangian for second-order system

Given an $n$-dimensional second-order system $$\ddot q^i-\sum_{j=1}^n A^i_j\dot q^j=0,$$ where $A$ is a constant matrix, is it possible to find a Lagrangian such that the above equation is the ...
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1answer
49 views

Coupled wheel and rod (analytical mechanics)

I am struggling with formulating the equations of motion. Consider a coordinate system with origin in $O$ ($y$ upwards and $x$ to the right), label the center of mass of rod $AB$ with $G$ then: ...
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1answer
41 views

Rotational KE in double pendulum

Why the Rotational Kinetic Energy term for the point mass of Kinetic Energy for double pendulum is not included in Lagrangian equation? \begin{align} ...
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2answers
103 views

Hamiltonian for a Lagrangian with coupling

I am dealing with the following Lagrangian density $$\mathscr{L}_{em}= -\frac{1}{2}\rho\omega^2 u^2 +\frac{1}{2}\nabla u:\Sigma :\nabla ...
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1answer
48 views

How one can know the gauge field emerging from the local gauge invariance is actually the EM field? [closed]

How one can know the gauge field emerging from the local gauge invariance is actually the EM field? I understood in a simple scalar field whose Lagrangian is given by $ \mathcal{L} = ...
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2answers
91 views

How would gravitons couple to the Stress-Energy tensor?

How would gravitons couple to the Stress-Energy tensor $T^{\mu\nu}$? How did physicists arrive at this result? I've read that it follows from the analysis of irreducible representations of the ...
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1answer
57 views

Practical Book on Hamiltonian and Lagrangians? [duplicate]

Are there any terse, accessible books that are geared specifically at learning these two formalisms and how to effectively use them? So far I've only see either topic introduced as a part of another ...
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1answer
91 views

Total divergence term and corresponding Feynman Diagram

A total divergence term added to the Lagrangian doesn’t affect the action because the integral of a total divergence vanishes. But if one attempts to derive the Feynman rules from the Lagrangian with ...
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0answers
59 views

Euler-Lagrange equation (equation of motion) solution with hairy Lagrangian [closed]

I'm going through Zwiebach Chapter 6 on relativistic strings to try to solve a similar problem. I got all the way to my equation of motion \begin{eqnarray*} \delta S & = & [ p' \delta ...
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1answer
46 views

Is the weak interaction Lagrangian invariant under parity transformations?

The weak interaction term in the Lagrangian reads $$ \bar \Psi \gamma_\mu P_L \Psi W^\mu. $$ Under parity transformations, because of $\Psi \rightarrow \gamma_0 \Psi$ and $\gamma_5 \rightarrow ...
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2answers
29 views

Modeling external forces in Lagrangian dynamics

For example, consider a system with a block on a flat, frictionless surface. On one side is a spring connecting the block to a wall. On the other side, a person's hand is pushing the block towards the ...
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1answer
64 views

Intuition behind Hamilton's Variational Principle

Background: I am an upper level undergraduate physics student who just completed a course in classical mechanics, concluding with Lagrangian Mechanics and Hamilton's Variational Principle. My ...
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0answers
58 views

Why is electric charge the conserved quantity corresponding to global $U(1)$ symmetry? [duplicate]

An example of a symmetry transformation for certain Lagrangians (notably the canonical complex scalar field Lagrangian) is multiplication of the fields by a complex phase. When we multiply the fields ...
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1answer
87 views

Is there an error in Susskinds' derivation of Euler-Lagrange equations?

http://imgur.com/kZO5C0V First, I believe there is a trivial error. The second equation should have another $\Delta t$ multiplying everything on the right. It is divided out later when the equation ...
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31 views

Equilibrium Points in Lagrangian Mechanics

Suppose we have a one particle system with generalized coordinates $q_i$. In classical mechanics, the corresponding Lagrangian is $L = T - V$. Assume $V(q)$ is time-independent. What additional ...
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2answers
143 views

Mass particle trajectory on a sphere

So, I am trying to simulate mass particle motion on the outer surface of sphere using cartesian coordinates. Let's conclude just a gravity and frictionless movement. Sphere $x^2 + y^2 + z^2 = 1$, ...
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1answer
69 views

Origin of momentum. Noether's theorem

My professor talked about Noether's theorem and how translation is the origin of momentum conservation. But why is it not velocity that is conserved but mass times velocity. And on the same note why ...
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0answers
24 views

Maxwell Lagrangian at weak fields

In http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/9506035 the authors said after writing this equation: $$\frac{1}{4}\eta^{\mu\nu\lambda\rho} F_{\mu\nu}F_{\lambda\rho} = \eta_{\sigma\tau\alpha\beta}\frac{\partial ...
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2answers
36 views

What are the end points in the action integral of field theory?

In the mechanics of particles when we apply the principle of the least action the two end points are two spatial coordinates. Therefore, if we consider the variation of the action with respect to the ...
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0answers
41 views

Is there a method to obtain a Lagrangian from the equations of motion? [duplicate]

From the standpoint of the mathematical framework behind Lagrangians and their corresponding action, is there a method to invert the process? If not, is this an open question or is there some aspect ...