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 does a system have to be holonomic?

So I'm doing some work from Taylor's mechanics book. He says for the problems in the book, we require the system to be holonomic - that is the number of generalized coordinates = number of Deg. of ...
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1answer
28 views

Deriving velocity after elastic and inelastic collision via the Principle of Least Action

I am reading on the Principle of Least Action from a historical perspective. I am also trying to make sense of it from a contemporary point of view -- though my training in contemporary physics is ...
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Locality defined in terms of the Lagrangian density

I've been reading through Matthew Schwartz's book "Quantum Field Theory and the Standard Model" and in chapter 24 there is a section on locality (section 24.4). In it he defines locality in terms of ...
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42 views

Allowed Virtual Displacements

I am having trouble understanding the kinds of virtual displacements which are permitted for a given constrained system. I have a specific example in mind: A block of wood resting on a table parallel ...
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19 views

Ostrogradsky instability [duplicate]

I am interested in Lagrangian Mechanics and I want to know why higher derivative theories are inconsistent with the nature. I heard that there is something called Ostrogradsky instability for higher ...
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1answer
73 views

Mathematics of the Virtual Displacement

So I'm pretty certain this question has been asked to death here, but I still can't find a good explanation of a very particular aspect of the virtual displacements in physics. Background For ...
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495 views

When/why does the principle of least action plus boundary conditions not uniquely specify a path?

A few months ago I was telling high school students about Fermat's principle. You can use it to show that light reflects off a surface at equal angles. To set it up, you put in boundary conditions, ...
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24 views

Finding the potential for a block on a wedge on a slope [on hold]

I'm trying to get the Lagrange equations for a block on top of a wedge which is itself on a slope. We can rotate the system to make it functionally the same as the classic block on a sliding wedge ...
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47 views

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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77 views

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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2answers
154 views

What canonical momenta are the “right” ones?

I'm doing some classical field theory exercises with the Lagrangian $$\mathscr{L} = -\frac{1}{4}F_{\mu \nu}F^{\mu \nu}$$ where $F_{\mu \nu} = \partial_\mu A_\nu - \partial_\nu A_\mu$. To find the ...
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56 views

Independent Variables of a Lagrangian

Let us consider a particle in one spatial dimension $x$ and one temporal dimension $t$. Its Lagrangian $L$ is given by \begin{eqnarray*} L &=& T- V \\ &=& \frac{1}{2} m\dot{x}^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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1answer
49 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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1answer
176 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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36 views

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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2answers
89 views

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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3answers
114 views

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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0answers
32 views

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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38 views

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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2answers
62 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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42 views

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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1answer
37 views

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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0answers
39 views

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 ...
4
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1answer
57 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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1answer
89 views

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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34 views

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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2answers
513 views

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 ...
3
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1answer
163 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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1answer
48 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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1answer
58 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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2answers
57 views

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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3answers
81 views

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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1answer
44 views

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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3answers
89 views

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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1answer
69 views

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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1answer
43 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
45 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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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
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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1answer
34 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
85 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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2answers
82 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
61 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
209 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
120 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
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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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3answers
87 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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171 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 ...