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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1answer
130 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
253 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
222 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
399 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
295 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 ...
2
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1answer
340 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, $$L(...
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1answer
944 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 ...
2
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1answer
630 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) $$ \Theta^{...
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3answers
557 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
596 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
78 views

A question regarding $f(R)$ Lagrangians

Consider the class of Lagrangian known as $f(R)$ Lagrangians where the Lagrangian is some function $f(R)$, \begin{equation} S=\int\sqrt{g}d^4x\ f(R) \end{equation} assuming there are no (or ignoring)...
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1answer
78 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
52 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} X^\mu(\tau)}{\...
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1answer
127 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
98 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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3answers
113 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
127 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 $U$...
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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 \...
2
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1answer
134 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 ...
2
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1answer
84 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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2answers
154 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 (...
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1answer
161 views

What assumptions about the action do we make or give up in transitioning from classical mechanics to quantum mechanics to quantum field theory?

I am reading Quantum Field Theory for the Gifted Amateur and I feel I don't have a good grasp as to how the Lagrangian and the action are used differently in (1) classical mechanics (2) quantum ...
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1answer
30 views

Is the term “Lagrangian density” specific to spacetime?

Wikipedia talks about Lagrangian densities here. But they never actually say whether they're just applying the concept to spacetime or that Lagrangian density is the analog for Lagrangians but for ...
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2answers
135 views

Conservation of energy when the Lagrangian includes a potential function

When proving that the homogeneity of time leads to the conservation of energy, (This is the proof from Landau for the case when there is no field present.) (Uses the Einstein's summation convention)...
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1answer
412 views

Example of Hamilton's Principle to Systems with Constraints (Goldstein)

I'm currently studying Goldstein's Classical Mechanics book and I can't get my head around his reasoning in section 2.4. (Extending Hamilton's principle to systems with constraints). I'd like to ...
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3answers
272 views

Virtual Work: How is the applied force related to the coordinates chosen?

I have a question after reading a section from Goldstein's Classical Mechanics. The question deals with equation 1.43 in the text (given below): $$ \tag{1.43} \sum\limits_{i} {\bf F}_i^{(a)}\cdot \...
2
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1answer
212 views

Lagrangian and grassmann numbers

Why sometimes we remember that "classical" lagrangians of fermions are constructed from grassmann numbers, while sometimes don't? For example, for Majorana's field in terms of 2-component spinors (...
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1answer
157 views

Mass term in the Lagrangian

I have read that the mass term appearing in the electroweak Lagrangian stops it (the Lagrangian) from becoming gauge invariance. Can someone explain where and why this term is creating the problem?
2
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2answers
328 views

Curved spacetime point particle Lagrangian density

This is probably trivially related to the question: Action for a point particle in a curved spacetime , but am a bit unsure how to write it as a Lagrangian density. In curved spacetime the action is ...
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3answers
1k views

Does a four-divergence extra term in a Lagrangian density matter to the field equations?

Greiner in his book "Field Quantization" page 173, eq.(7.11) did this calculation: ${\mathcal L}^\prime=-\frac{1}{2}\partial_\mu A_\nu\partial^\mu A^\nu+\frac{1}{2}\partial_\mu A_\nu\partial^\nu A^...
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1answer
531 views

Working with a Routhian for a specific system

I asked a more general question earlier about the Routhian, but I'm still having trouble working with it. Here's my specific case. Given the following Lagrangian: $$L=(1/2)m(\dot{r}^{2}+r^{2}\dot{\...
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4answers
822 views

Are Lagrangians and Hamiltonians used by Engineers?

Analytical Mechanics (Lagrangian and Hamiltonian) are useful in Physics (e.g. in Quantum Mechanics) but are they also used in application, by engineers? For example, are they used in designing bridges ...
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1answer
205 views

Definition of Kinetic energy

In class we had that $ T= \frac{1}{2}T_{ij}v_iv_j$ where we used the Einstein summation convention. Hitherto we only discussed examples where the kinetic energy was dependent of the square of one ...
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2answers
641 views

Different approaches to calculating the Christoffel symbols

I would be very grateful to whoever can debug the following calculations... We have the metric for static spacetime: $$ds^2 = -\exp(2U(\vec x))dt^2+h_{ij}(\vec x) d x^i d x^j$$ I want to find the ...
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3answers
401 views

Is the path of stationary action unique? What are the physical implications of $L_{\dot{x}}=L_x$

Below, for any function $Q$ the notation $Q_x$ means $\frac{\partial Q}{\partial x}$, and $Q_{xx}$ means $\frac{\partial^2 Q}{\partial x^2}$. In physics, the trajectory of a particle is given by the ...
2
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1answer
143 views

Obtaining the conserved current of the Lagrangian making the parameter depending on $x$

To calculate the conserved current due to an internal symmetry of the system (expressed by the Lagrangian density) we can proceed as follows: if it is invariant under $\delta \phi = \alpha \phi$, ...
2
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1answer
429 views

Euler-Lagrange Equation with logarithmic potential

A particle moving towards the origin has initial conditions $x(t=0) = 1$ and $\dot{x}(t=0)=0$. If the Lagrangian is $$L:=\frac{m}{2}\dot{x}^2 -\frac{m}{2}\ln|x|$$ This should satisfy Euler ...
2
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1answer
274 views

Relationship between local and global scaling (Weyl) symmetry

Theorem 5.1 on page 80 of this paper says that Assuming that the matter fields satisfy their equations of motion, the matter field action is locally Weyl invariant if and only if the corresponding ...
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2answers
264 views

Is the gravitational constant G a minimum value in some sense?

Assume a central body of mass $M$, and call $a$ the acceleration of a test body at a distance $r$ due to any interaction whatsoever with the central body. Is is correct to say that the ratio $a r^2/ M$...
2
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1answer
291 views

Do Lagrangian points actually maintain a fixed distance?

I was reading on up Lagrangian points and the restricted three-body problem. From what I was able to tell, the Lagrangian points are 5 points in a two-body system such that a third body would be ...
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2answers
800 views

M-theory no lagrangian?

Is there any formulated lagrangian (density) for M-theory? If not, why is there no lagrangian? If not, is this related to many vacua existing? Thnx.
2
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1answer
546 views

Origins of the principle of least time in classical mechanics

Is it possible to derive the principle of least time from the principle of least action in lagrangian or hamiltonian mechanics? Or is Fermat's principle more fundamental than the principle of least ...
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1answer
35 views

My Hamiltonian for a light ray vanishes

I have the following issue with understanding. A light ray traveling from $q(\tau_1)$ to $q(\tau_2)$ minimizes the integral $\int\limits_{\tau_1}^{\tau_2} n(q(\tau))|\dot{q}(\tau)| d\tau$, so the ...
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2answers
72 views

Where is the BRST symmetry?

When quantizing YM we start from the gauge fixed path integral (to remove redundancy of integrating over Gauge symmetric configurations) $$\int \mathcal{D}A \delta(G(A)) \text{det} \Delta_{FP}e^{i\int ...
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1answer
69 views

Hamiltonian or free energy corresponding to 2+1D Kuramoto-Sivashinsky model

I am trying to understand if the deterministic 2+1D Kuramoto-Sivashinsky equation $$ \partial_t h = -\nu \nabla^2 h - K \nabla^4 h + \frac{\lambda}{2} (\nabla h)^2, $$ where $\nu$, $K$, $\lambda$ ...
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1answer
83 views

Non-holonomic constraints in Dirac-Bergmann theory

The Dirac-Bergmann algorithm effectively isolates the physical degrees of freedom of a system, by changing from Poisson brackets $\{\cdot,\cdot\}_\mathrm{PB}$ to Dirac brackets $\{\cdot,\cdot\}_\...
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2answers
104 views

Action max, min, or saddle?

It is well known that $\delta S = 0$ lays the foundation for variational mechanics. But I am confused as to whether or not this S is a minimum, a maximum, or a saddle point. Some books address this ...
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2answers
117 views

qualitative explanation of Principle of Least Action (vertical movement)

Consider the following situation I want to understand what the PLA means here from an intuitive and qualitative point of view. I understand the mathematical approach. Combining $L(y,\dot{y})=\...