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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311 views

Can cos(x) or sin(x) be the function of stationary action?

Is there a way to express $\cos(x(t))$ (or $\sin(x(t))$) as the solution to the Euler-Lagrange equation, in other words is there a sense in which this function is the path of stationary action?
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565 views

Relation between linear momentum and translational kinetic energy

The momentum $m v$ of a particle is formally the same as the derivative its translational kinetic energy $\frac{1}{2} m v^2$ with respect to $v$. Similarly the angular momentum $I \omega$ is the ...
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135 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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130 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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67 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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221 views

Classical action of the simple harmonic oscillator

I have been calculating the classical action of the harmonic oscillator, the problem I have is that I am only able to solve it if I set the integration limits of the action integral to be $t=T$ and ...
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140 views

From Lagrangian to equations of motion [closed]

I have a given Lagrangian: $$L= e^{st}\cdot\frac12\cdot(mv_y^2-ky^2)$$ And are asked to identify the equations of motions, the constants of motions and physical system. Without the exp-time-term, ...
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78 views

Converse of the Lagrangian form-invariance

The form-invariance of the Lagrange equations implies the existence of a function $\ A( q_k, t)$ so that $\ \begin{equation} L' (q_k, v_k, t) -L(q_k, v_k, t) = \frac d {dt} A( q_k, t) ...
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238 views

Einstein action and the second derivatives

I have naive question about Einstein action for field-free case: $$ S = -\frac{1}{16 \pi G}\int \sqrt{-g} d^{4}x g^{\mu \nu}R_{\mu \nu}. $$ It contains the second derivatives of metric. When we want ...
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433 views

Einstein equation and scalar field stress-energy tensor

Let's have interaction between gravitational and scalar real fields. For an action of gravitational field in vacuum I add term $S_{m} = \int d^{4}x\sqrt{-g}L_{m}$, where $$ L_{m} = \frac{1}{2}g^{\mu ...
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433 views

Questions regarding solving the Brachistochrone problem using Lagrangian

brachistochrone problem: Suppose that there is a rollercoaster. There is point 1 ($0,0$) and point 2 ($x_2, y_2)$. Point 1 is at the higher place when compared to the point 2, so the rollercoaster ...
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274 views

Improved energy-momentum tensor

While still dealing with this issue, I've stumbled upon this answer to a question asking about the conserved quantity corresponding to a scaling transformation. It mentions that in accordance with ...
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25 views

Conserved current in a complex relativistic scalar field

For my field theory class I have the following Lagrangian density $$\mathscr{L}=\frac{1}{2}\eta^{\mu\nu}\partial_\mu\phi^*\partial_\nu\phi-\frac{1}{2}m^2\phi^*\phi$$ Where $\eta^{\mu\nu}$ is the ...
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47 views

Given potentials, how does one find conserved quantities using Noether's theorem?

I've been asked to find the conserved quantities of the following 3D potentials: $U(\vec{r}) = U(x^2)$, $U(\vec{r}) = U(x^2 + y^2)$ and $U(\vec{r}) = U(x^2 + y^2 + z^2)$. For the first one, ...
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76 views

Variation of a term in the Lagrangian

I don't understand why $$\frac{\delta}{\delta\phi}\left(\frac12\partial^\mu\phi\partial_\mu\phi\right)~=~\partial^\mu\partial_\mu\phi.\tag{1}$$ If we use integration by parts, there should be a minus ...
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66 views

How is the electromagnetic Lagrangian derived?

I've been studying from the book called "path integral formulation" by Feynman and Hibbs. In chapter 4, problem 4.2, they refer to the electromagnetic Lagrangian as: $$ L=\frac{1}{2} m \dot{x}^2+ ...
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57 views

What is “momentum density” and why it important to QFT?

I am reading Quantum Field Theory for the Gifted Amateur. On page 98, they provide a summary of a basic canonical quantization procedure: Step I: Write down a classical Lagrangian density in ...
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38 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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38 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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119 views

Euler-Lagrange equations of a current-loop pendulum in a magnetic field

I am reading "Nonlinear Electromechanics", by Dmitry Skubov and Kamil S. Khodzhaev, Springer 2008. Here is the relevant and freely available chapter. Essentially, a loop of area $S$, mass $m$, moment ...
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115 views

Variational principle for a point particle (massive or massless) in curved space

We know that for a point particle, the action is $$ S[x,e] ~=~ \frac{1}{2}\int_{\lambda_A}^{\lambda_B} d\lambda\left[e^{-1}(\lambda)~g_{\mu\nu}(x(\lambda))~\dot{x}^\mu(\lambda)~\dot{x}^\nu(\lambda) ...
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107 views

Finding the magnetic vector potential by calculus of variations

Given the functional $$F[A]=\int_{\mathbb{R}^3}\{\frac{1}{2\mu(x)}|\nabla\times\vec{A}|^2-\vec{J}\cdot\vec{A}\}d^3x$$ with $\vec{A}$ is a candidate vector potential for the field ...
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66 views

Calculate energy from vacuum electromagnetic-field action

I'm reading Rubakov's "Classical Theory of Gauge Fields", and I'm having a little bit of trouble with problem 7, p 15: Using an expression of the type $E = \int d^{3} x \frac{\delta L}{\delta ...
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73 views

Alternative symmetries for the Maxwell Lagrangian?

I'm wondering about how to show that $A_a\rightarrow A_a+\alpha\partial_0A_a$, with $\alpha$ infinitesimal, is an infinitesimal symmetry of $\mathcal L=-\frac14F_{ab}F^{ab}$. \begin{equation} ...
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90 views

How does isotropy of free space imply $L(v^2)$ for a free particle? [duplicate]

From Mechanics; Landau and Lifshitz, it's stated on page 5: Since space is isotropic, the Lagrangian must also be indpendent of the direction of $ \mathbf{v}$, and is therfore a function only of ...
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145 views

How to obtain Maxwell's Lagrangian from complex scalar fields?

I've looked in several books and they all show how to obtain electrical interactions by forcing local gauge invariance of any complex scalar field Lagrangian (like Klein-Gordon or Dirac). I manage to ...
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71 views

The exact definition of conjugate momentum density

After checking various websites, I've seen the conjugate momentum density defined as either: \begin{align*} P_r ~=~ \frac{\partial \mathcal{L}}{\partial \dot{A}_r} \end{align*} or \begin{align*} P_r ...
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94 views

How do I obtain the Lagrangian in standard for using action? [closed]

I have action as shown below $$S=\int \mathrm{d}t \int \mathrm{d}x^3 \bar\psi\left(i\partial_t\psi +\frac1{2m}\bar\nabla^2\psi-V(x)\psi\right)$$ How do I manipulate it to obtain the Lagrangian ...
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33 views

Lagrangian Oscilattor

I want to know how to calculate the normal modes from a Lagrangian. I make the T (kinetic energy matrix) and U (potential energy matrix), and then I calculate the determinant of $|T-\omega ^2 U|$ ...
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97 views

Transforming a lagrangian to hamiltonian and vice versa

I am not refering to Legendre transform, but to something more simple. In analytical mechanics, the Lagrangian can be described as $L=T-V$, and the Hamiltonian is if the Lagrangian doesn't explicitly ...
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456 views

Using Lagrange's Equations with Generalized forces

I am a bit confused on how this works. For instance if I wanted to look at an object moving in 2 dimensions only subject to gravity (and assuming that the potential is just mgy), I get that my ...
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241 views

Proper time of circular motion under Schwarzschild metric

I'm trying to calculate the proper time of a massive particle circulating Schwarzschild black hole, using EL equation of the following Lagrangian: ...
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192 views

Relativistic Lagrangian transformations

I need to study the relativistic lagrangian of a free particle. It's $\ L= - m c^2 \sqrt[2]{1- \frac{|u|^2}{c^2}} $ I need to study the translation, boost and rotation symmetry. I say it doesn't ...
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189 views

Potential in Relativistic Scalar Field Theory

My intention is to establish a Soliton equation. I have cropped a page from Mark Srednicki page no 576. I have understand the equation (92.1) but don't understand that how they guessed the ...
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413 views

How would you use the Euler-Lagrange equation to predict the motion of projectiles with linear (Stokes) drag (but no wind)?

My first instinct would be to use the force $$\vec{F} =- \alpha \vec{v}$$ and therefore $$V(\vec{r}) = \alpha \int_C \vec{v}\cdot d\vec{s} = \alpha \int_C \vec{v}\cdot \vec{v} dt = \alpha \int_C ...
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1answer
316 views

What's the motivation behind the action principle? [closed]

What's the motivation behind the action principle? Why does the action principle lead to Newtonian law? If Newton's law of motion is more fundamental so why doesn't one derive Lagrangians and ...
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606 views

Charge, velocity-dependent potentials and Lagrangian

Given an electric charge $q$ of mass $m$ moving at a velocity ${\bf v}$ in a region containing both electric field ${\bf E}(t,x,y,z)$ and magnetic field ${\bf B}(t,x,y,z)$ (${\bf B}$ and ${\bf E}$ are ...
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155 views

Cyclic co-ordinates implying the constant velocity motion of center of mass of a system of particles

I'm reading the section on Central Force in my textbook (Goldstein's Classical Mechanics has a similar argument in the chapter titled "The Central Force Problem", first section), where we have the ...
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91 views

Smooth trajectory on a smooth manifold

Physicists talk about a smooth trajectory of a particle on a smooth manifold and they label it as q(t) where q_1(t)....q_n(t) are component functions coming from the homeomorphism. I don't see how we ...
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837 views

Problems that Lagranges equations of the 1st kind can solve whereas the 2nd kind can't?

Can anyone give examples of mechanics problems which can be solved by Lagrange equations of the first kind, but not the second kind?
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43 views

Time dependence of the Lagrangian of a free particle?

I am working through Landau's book on Classical Mechanics. I understand the logic and physics of isotropy and homogeneity of space-time behind the derivation of the Lagrangian for a free particle, but ...
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42 views

Definition of generalised coordinates?

I think the definition of generalised coordinates is something along the following lines: A set of parameters that discribe the configuration of a system with respect to some refrence ...
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63 views

How to calculate the classical on-shell action for a harmonic oscillator? [closed]

So, short and sweet, I've been reading the path integrals book by Feynman and Hibbs, and one of the elementary problems they ask is to calculate the classical on-shell$^1$ action of a harmonic ...
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1answer
52 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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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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74 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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104 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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89 views

Three masses on a circle connected by spring

How would I go about finding the normal modes of three masses on a circular hoop, with springs connecting them across the circle, in a triangle (assume the spring constants and masses are the same). I ...
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76 views

Electric Magnetic duality

In this paper http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/9705122 Section 2 We have $$S_A = \frac{1}{4g^2} \int{d^4x F_{\mu\nu}(A)F^{\mu\nu}(A)}$$ where $F_{\mu\nu}(A) = \partial_{[\mu A\nu]}$. Its Bianchi Identity ...
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72 views

How to show that $\partial S/\partial q=p$ without variation of $S$?

I'm trying to get some understanding in treating action $S$ as a function of coordinates. Landau and Lifshitz consider $\delta S$, getting $\delta S=p\delta q$, thus concluding that $$\frac{\partial ...