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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First integral of relativistic Euler-Lagrange equations

Connsider a pseudo-Riemannian ($4$-dimensional) manifold $M$ with a pseudometric $g_{ab}$. The Lagrangian of a free particle in $M$ (in analogy to the flat case) is $$\mathcal ...
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1answer
4k views

Derivation of Dirac equation using the Lagrangian density for Dirac field

How can I derive the Dirac equation from the Lagrangian density for the Dirac field?
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2answers
727 views

Lorentz invariance of the action for free relativistic particle

I tried to check the Lorentz invariance of the standard special relativity action for free particle directly: ($c=1$) $$ S=\int L dt=-m\int\sqrt{1-v^{2}}dt $$ Lorentz boost: $$ ...
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1answer
3k views

What is the Lagrangian from which the Klein-Gordon equation is derived in QFT?

Is there a well-known Lagrangian that, writing the corresponding eq of motion, gives the Klein-Gordon Equation in QFT? If so, what is it? What is the canonical conjugate momentum? I derive the same ...
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2answers
548 views

What is the relativistic action of a massive particle?

all Lorentz observers watching a particle move will compute the same value for the quantity $$ds^2 = -(c \, dt)^2 + dx^2 + dy^2 + dz^2,$$ $$ds^2 = g_{\mu\nu}dx^{\mu}dx^{\nu},$$ and ''ds/c'' is then ...
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1answer
78 views

Poincare non-invariance in real world and field theory

This may be a very blunt question but I wonder why we always use Poincare invariant Lagrangians in field theory. After all, the entire world around us is by no means homogeneous, isotropic and so on. ...
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1k views

Adding a total time derivative term to the Lagrangian

This is proof that $L'$ represents same equation of motion with $L$ through Lagrange eq. I understand $L'$ satisfies Lagrange eq, but how does this proof mean $L'$ and $L$ describe same motion of ...
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1answer
94 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
246 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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3answers
371 views

What is the definition of momentum when a mass distribution $\rho(r,t)$ is given?

This question is Edited after recieving comments. What is the definition of momentum when a mass distribution $\rho(r,t)$ is given? Assuming a particle as a point mass we know the definition of ...
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1answer
70 views

Equivalence between principle of least action and minimum potential energy

Are the principle of least action and the principle of minimum potential energy equivalent? How does one show that? Also, are Newton's laws of motion equivalent to the principle of least action? How ...
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1answer
677 views

Obtain the Lagrangian from the system of coupled equation [closed]

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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251 views

Hamiltonian mechanics really useful for numerical integration? Lagrangian can become 1st-order

(I'm talking about the classical mechanics.) Many texts say that Euler-Lagrange equations are difficult to treat numerically because they are second-order ODEs, ${f_i(\boldsymbol{q, \dot{q}, ...
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2answers
295 views

Why does the classical electrodynamics Lagrangian density equation have a “field” term and an “interaction” term?

On Wikipedia's page on classical electrodynamics, they state the Lagrangian density equation as follows \begin{equation} \mathcal{L} = \mathcal{L}_{\text{field}} + \mathcal{L}_{\text{int}} = ...
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1answer
317 views

Difference in “momentum” names in Lagrangian mechanics

In the context of Lagrangian formulation of classical mechanics, the following names keep occurring in most textbooks, which confuse me a lot, are they different in any way? Momentum Generalized ...
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4answers
553 views

Poincare invariant Lagrangians

The Lagrangian density of a Poincare invariant theory should not depend explicitly on the space-time coordinates. Does this mean $$ \partial_\mu \mathcal{L}=0~? $$ If this is the case doesn't the ...
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1answer
212 views

A Question on Hamilton's Principle

In some literatures, the Hamilton's principle for conservative systems is introduced by this equation: $$\delta \int_{t_1}^{t_2}(T-V) ~\mathrm{d}t~=~0$$ In some others, this principle is introduces ...
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2answers
392 views

Intuition Behind Conservation of Angular Momentum

I'm having a fairly hard time understanding the intuition behind Noether's derivation of the conservation of angular momentum from the rotational invariance of the Lagrangian, though I do understand ...
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1answer
302 views

Is Lagrangian a scalar?

I may be wrong: Lagrangian are scalars. They are NOT invariant under coordinate transformations. The simplest example is when you have a gravitational potential ($V=mgz$) and you translate $z$ by $a$ ...
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2answers
7k views

Expression of kinetic energy in polar coordinates

Expression for kinetic energy in Cartesian coordinate: Expression for kinetic energy in polar coordinate (applying the transformation of coordinates): Why can't we express it in the following ...
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1answer
250 views

Motivating the Legendre Transform Mathematically

If I begin with a functional of the form $$J[y] = \int_a^b f(x,y,y')dx$$ and find its Euler-Lagrange equations $$\frac{\partial f}{\partial y} - \frac{d}{dx}\frac{\partial f}{\partial y'} = 0 = ...
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2answers
383 views

Bertrand's theorem

I found in Goldstein's Classical Mechanics that the condition for closed orbits is given by $\frac{d^2 V_{eff}}{dr^2}>0$.(bertrand's theorem). Can somebody explain to me, how this inequality is ...
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1answer
724 views

How to tell local and non-local in QFT?

I'm taking QFT course in this term. I'm quite curious that in QFT by which part of the mathematical expression can we tell a quantity or a theory is local or non-local?
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2answers
120 views

Is angular momentum conserved for a mass fixed to a horizontal guide

I have the system shown below. Mass 1 confined to a vertical guide, and mass 2 confined to a horizontal guide joined together by a spring. My question is very simple: is the total angular momentum ...
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1answer
104 views

Is the Hamiltonian conserved or not?

The question is the very last sentence at the end of this post. In this post, I'll first show that the Hamiltonian is conserved since it does not have explicit dependence on time and then show that ...
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2answers
98 views

Is there any loss or gain of information if a physics law is changed from one form to another? [closed]

Is there any loss or gain of information if a physics law is changed from one form to another such that the parameter appearing in them is changed from vector to a scalar? For example, consider the ...
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1answer
94 views

Degrees of freedom of a point mass sliding on a rigid curved wire without friction

I am very new to the subject and am going through Structure and Interpretation of Classical Mechanics. One exercise asks to find the degrees of freedom of a number of systems, one of which is a ...
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1answer
127 views

Lagrangian density for the electromagnetic field

I want to know how the Lagrangian density for the electromagnetic field is written in the following form:
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2answers
245 views

Momentum vector transformation

I am confused about the way momentum vector transforms in the following case: $$q_k \to q_k'= q_k + \epsilon f_k(q)$$ The Jacobian is thus $\Lambda_{ij} = \frac{\partial q'_i}{\partial q_j} \approx ...
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1answer
213 views

Schrödinger evolution for a Klein-Gordon equation

I have a problem with the transition from quantum relativistic wave equations (specifically Klein-Gordon equation) to QFT, since a lot of assumptions seem implicit. For example I have a problem with ...
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2answers
393 views

How can I tell that circular motion is a solution for a particle confined to the surface of a cone?

I'm working on a problem where a particle of mass $m$ is confined to the surface of an inverted half cone (and is circling downwards due to gravity), with the cone's half angle $\alpha$. I chose to ...
2
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1answer
287 views

Can the Lagrange Multipliers depend on the coordinates?

When dealing with Lagrange multipliers to solve systems with constraints we usually have two ways if the constraints are holonomic: Differentiate the constraint and add the appropiate term to the ...
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1answer
327 views

Expansion of a function

In Landau-Lifschitz, following expansion is given, We have, $$L(v'^2)~=~L(v^2+2\textbf{v}\cdot\epsilon+\epsilon ^2)$$ expanding this in powers of $\epsilon$ and neglecting powers of higher order, ...
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1answer
923 views

Retrieving Maxwell's equations from the minimum action principle

I'm currently working at the start of Alexei Tsvelik's book Quantum Field Theory in Condensed Matter Physics. I'm kinda stumped on a few essential steps. Starting with the action: $$S = \int dt \int ...
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3answers
538 views

Why lagrangian is negative number?

In the special relativistic action for a massive point particle, $$\int_{t_i}^{t_f}\mathcal {L}dt,$$ why is the Lagrangian $$\mathcal {L}=-E_o\gamma^{-1}$$ a negative number?
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1answer
613 views

Why has the trace of the energy-momentum tensor to vanish for conserved scaling currents to exist?

In this paper, the authors say that the trace of the energy-momentum tensor has to vanish to allow for the existence of conserved dilatation or scaling currents, as defined on p 10, Eq(22) $$ ...
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3answers
548 views

Can the Euler-Lagrange equations be derived from an infinitesimal Principle of Least Action?

The Euler-Lagrange equations can be derived from the Principle of Least Action using integration by parts and the fact that the variation is zero at the end points. This has a mystical air about it, ...
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1answer
589 views

Spontaneous symmetry breaking and 't Hooft and Polyakov monopoles

What is spontaneous symmetry breaking from a classical point of view. Could you give some examples, using classical systems.I am studying about the 't Hooft and Polyakov magnetic monopoles solutions, ...
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1answer
1k views

Principle of Least Action; Newton's 2nd Law of Motion

This question is based on the description of Longair in his book "Theoretical Concepts in Physics". He starts by giving some provisions: Conservative force field Fixed times $t_1$ and $t_2$ Object ...
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1answer
74 views

Conceptual problem with action considered as function of endpoints

I am having some trouble with understanding why it makes sense to consider action in classical mechanics as function of endpoints $q_{initial}, \ q_{final}$ and endtimes $t_{initial}, \ t_{final}$. ...
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1answer
51 views

Why is the potential independent of the generalized velocity?

In Goldstein, Classical Mechanics, Chap. 1.4 we derive Lagrange's equations from D'Alembert's Principle. My question is regarding the last part of the derivation, specifically the part where he ...
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2answers
58 views

Invariance under local diffeomorphisms

In the context of the Polyakov action, the action for a relativistic point particle $$ S_P = \frac{1}{2} \int \mathrm{d}\tau \, e(\tau) \left(\frac{1}{e^2(\tau)}\left(\frac{\mathrm{d} ...
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1answer
126 views

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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2answers
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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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3answers
106 views

Hamilton's Principle - achieving Hamilton equations

Consider the action function: $$\mathcal{S}(t)=\int_{t_1}^{t_2}\mathcal{L}(q_i,\dot{q_i},t) dt$$ where $\mathcal{L}$ is the Lagrangian of the system. The Hamiltonian is defined by the following ...
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1answer
123 views

Classical spin viewed as $SU(2)$

In which sense is the configuration variable of a classical spin $SU(2)$? I can view a classical spin as a unit vector in $\mathbb{S}^2$ (2-dim. sphere), but it seems it is really given by a matrix ...
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1answer
105 views

Invariance of Fermionic action under Lorentz transformations

Suppose I have an Lagrangian $$\mathcal{L} = \frac{1}{2}g_{ab} \bar{\psi}^a \Gamma^k \partial_k \psi^b $$ and I want to show it's invariance under the infinitesimal Lorentz transformations $$\delta ...
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1answer
131 views

Hamiltonian field equations constraints

Let's consider the Lagrangian $$\mathcal{L}~=~-\frac{1}{2}(\partial_\mu\phi^\nu)^2+\frac{1}{2}(\partial_\mu\phi^\mu)^2+\frac{1}{2}m^2\phi_\mu \phi^\mu,$$ with Minkowski metric $\eta_{\mu\nu}={\rm ...
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1answer
81 views

Non-linearity and self-coupling of gravity

I have heard that non-linearity of Einstein's field equations has to do with the fact that gravity self-couples. What does non-linearity have to do with self-coupling?
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143 views

“Find the Lagrangian of the theory”

I've heard a few of my professors throw around the term "finding the Lagrangian of a theory". What exactly is this referring to. From what I understand it seems that you determine invariances ...