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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

2
votes
0answers
27 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
40 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
47 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
53 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 ...
0
votes
3answers
70 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
30 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 ...
-1
votes
0answers
43 views

Using Lagrangian to get the equations of motion [on hold]

The thin hollow cylinder rolls on the plane without slipping. My attempt is summarised in the sketch below. X and Theta are my coordinates. I got stuck while writing the T
1
vote
3answers
70 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}) ...
0
votes
1answer
61 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
219 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. ...
0
votes
1answer
37 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
41 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
37 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 ...
1
vote
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 ...
0
votes
1answer
30 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
69 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?
4
votes
2answers
70 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 ...
2
votes
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 ...
4
votes
3answers
194 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
112 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 = ...
1
vote
0answers
32 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 ...
1
vote
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: $$S=-\frac{T_0}{c} \int d\tau d \sigma \sqrt{-\gamma}.$$ ...
2
votes
0answers
168 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
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?
0
votes
2answers
28 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
34 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 ...
0
votes
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 + ...
0
votes
2answers
98 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
222 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 ...
3
votes
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 ...
0
votes
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 ...
-3
votes
0answers
48 views

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 ...
3
votes
1answer
80 views

Redefinitions of Lagrangians using EOM

I am trying to understand an statement of this paper. In section 2 this Lagrangian is introduced ...
3
votes
2answers
154 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 ...
0
votes
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 ...
3
votes
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 ...
9
votes
0answers
83 views

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 $SU(3)$. ...
1
vote
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 ...
0
votes
0answers
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 ...
2
votes
1answer
67 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 ...
6
votes
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, ...
0
votes
1answer
88 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: ...
0
votes
1answer
71 views

A course in Lagrangian Mechanics [duplicate]

I would like to know: what are some of the best introductory books to Lagrangian Mechanics?
1
vote
2answers
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 ...
0
votes
0answers
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 ...
0
votes
1answer
42 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
votes
1answer
85 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
224 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
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 ...
5
votes
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 ...