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 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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233 views

What is meant by a local Lagrangian density?

What is meant by a local Lagrangian density? How will a non-local Lagrangian look like? What is the problem that we do not consider such Lagrangian densities?
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99 views

With respect to what quantities do I vary Lagrangians in field theory?

I have recently been wondering, with respect to which quantities (covariant or contravariant) one should vary QFT Lagrangians and whether there is some rule regarding this. Let me give an example ...
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291 views

Dimensions in lagrangian potential

According to Mankowski flat space dimensions We can write, $$L= \int \text{dt} \text d^d{x} \left[ \frac{1}{2} \dot\phi^2 - \frac{1}{2} \left(\frac{\partial \phi}{\partial r} \right)^2 ...
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2k 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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491 views

Must the Lagrangian always be known for the Euler-Lagrange equations to be of any use?

When studying classical mechanics using the Euler-Lagrange equations for the first time, my initial impression was that the Lagrangian was something that needed to be determined through integration of ...
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45 views

What is it that Lagrangian density with only bilinear terms always corresponds to free field theory?

Is there an intuitive proof of this fact? (Maybe connected in some way to Central Limit Theorem?).
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136 views

Subtlety in derivation of Noether's theorem by Di Francesco

In the book 'Conformal Field Theory' by Di Francesco et al, a derivation of Noether's theorem is demonstrated by imposing that, what I believe is said to be a more elegant approach, the parameter ...
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79 views

$\cos^{2}(\phi)$ in the kinetic energy term of the Lagrangian is one?

I'm doing some homework in Classical Mechanics, and is about to write out the Lagrangian of a system. But, when I check the answer from my teacher, something is missing. The kinetic energy I'm using ...
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228 views

Equations of motion from the Standard Model

For some time now I have been wondering if you could not derive any sort of equations of motion from the Standard Model: ...
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274 views

Derivation of Lagrangian density for an infinite classical dielectric in interaction with the EM field

I am tasked with reading and reproducing all the steps in J.J. Hopfield's 1958 paper "Theory of the Contribution of Excitons to the Complex Dielectric Constant of Crystals". Embarrassingly I am stuck ...
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339 views

Lagrangian and hamiltonian of interaction

How to prove that lagrangian of interaction is equal to hamiltonian of interaction with minus sign? For example, I can't prove it for special case - quantum electrodynamics.
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378 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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313 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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573 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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124 views

Gravity in $d$ spacetime dimensions

Given the following action $$S=\frac{1}{16\pi G}\int d^4x \sqrt {-g}(R+aR^2+bR_{\mu\nu}R^{\mu\nu}+cR_{\mu\nu\lambda\sigma}R^{\mu\nu\lambda\sigma}),$$ which is in 4D. How to we generalise this ...
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142 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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146 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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73 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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241 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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1answer
142 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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247 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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467 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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454 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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281 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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1answer
57 views

What is the function type of the generalized momentum?

Let $$L:{\mathbb R}^n\times {\mathbb R}^n\times {\mathbb R}\to {\mathbb R}$$ denote the Lagrangian (it should be differentiable) of a classical system with $n$ spatial coordinates. In the action ...
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107 views

Calculus of variations and string theory

In Polchinski's String theory book, Vol 1., in chapter 1, p. 18, he is deriving the Lagrangian in the light cone gauge (that's not necessary to know in order to answer this question), and he gets ...
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1answer
32 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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1answer
59 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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2answers
80 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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72 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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66 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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1answer
45 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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41 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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1answer
125 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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118 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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110 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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69 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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75 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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153 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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1answer
77 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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1answer
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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98 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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1answer
476 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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248 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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194 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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191 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 ...