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)

3
votes
3answers
601 views

Relating generalized momentum, generalized velocity, and kinetic energy: $2T~=~\sum_i p_{i}\dot{q}^{i}$

According to equation (6) on the first page of some lecture notes online, the above equation is used to prove the virial theorem. For rectangular coordinates, the relation $$ 2T~=~\sum_i ...
0
votes
1answer
293 views

How is the equation of motion for a real scalar field derived from the Lagrangian?

The Lagrangian for a real scalar field is: $$\mathcal{L}=\frac{1}{2}\eta^{\mu \nu}\partial_{\mu}\phi\partial_{\nu}\phi-\frac{1}{2}m^2\phi^2 $$ How can I derive the dynamics of this field from this ...
1
vote
2answers
725 views

How the boundary term in the variation of the action vanishes

In David Tong's QFT lecture notes (Quantum Field Theory: University of Cambridge Part III Mathematical Tripos, Lecture notes 2007, p.8), he states that We can determine the equations of motion by ...
1
vote
3answers
505 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
153 views

Does anybody know of any good sources that explain (generically) how we form Lagrangians/Actions/Superpotentials for different field content?

I regularly find that I'll understand where the field content in a particular physics paper comes from, but then a Lagrangian or action or superpotential is stated and I don't know how it's derived. ...
2
votes
1answer
172 views

Varying an action (cosmological perturbation theory)

I am stuck varying an action, trying to get an equation of motion. (Going from eq. 91 to eq. 92 in the image.) This is the action $$S~=~\int d^{4}x \frac{a^{2}(t)}{2}(\dot{h}^{2}-(\nabla h)^2).$$ ...
4
votes
2answers
275 views

Why is the Lagrangian quadratic in $\dot{q}$? [duplicate]

My teacher said we only consider Lagrangians which are quadratic in $\dot{q}$, and we don't take other Lagrangians. I couldn't understand why. Can anyone please explain this?
11
votes
5answers
649 views

Form of the Classical EM Lagrangian

So I know that for an electromagnetic field in a vacuum the Lagrangian is $\mathcal L=-\frac 1 4 F^{\mu\nu} F_{\mu\nu}$, the standard model tells me this. What I want to know is if there is an ...
4
votes
3answers
253 views

Virtual differentials approach to Euler-Lagrange equation - necessary?

I'm currently teaching myself intermediate mechanics & am really struggling with the d'Alembert-based virtual differentials derivation for the Euler-Lagrange equation. The whole notion of, and ...
3
votes
1answer
184 views

Definition of Local Function

Now a days I am studying Srednicki's QFT book. In its third chapter it is written that Any local function of φ(x) is a Lorentz scalar, [...] . Now my question is: What is a local function?
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Null geodesic given metric

I (desperately) need help with the following: What is the null geodesic for the space time $$ds^2=-x^2 dt^2 +dx^2?$$ I don't know how to transform a metric into a geodesic...! There is no need to ...
0
votes
3answers
543 views

Lagrange-Euler equations for a bead moving on a ring

A bead with mass $m$ is free to glide on a ring that rotates about an axis with constant angular velocity. Form the Lagrange-Euler equations for the movement of the bead. Solution: Let us ...
0
votes
1answer
77 views

Strong interaction and the Lagrangian for electromagnetic interaction

The Lagrangian for electromagnetic field has the following expression: $$ L = -\frac{1}{c^{2}}A_{\alpha}j^{\alpha} - \frac{1}{8 \pi c}(\partial_{\alpha} A_{\beta})(\partial^{\alpha}A^{\beta}) $$ (I ...
-1
votes
1answer
175 views

Linear/ non linear Scalar field theory

How do I understand that the action for the free relativistic scalar field theory is non linear? What will be the associated interaction potential of that equation?
2
votes
1answer
244 views

Euler-Lagrange for constrained system

Suppose we have Euler-Lagrange system with generalized coordinate $r_1$ and $r_2$, and input $u_1$ and $u_2$. I know how to prove this system is indeed Euler-Lagrange system. Suppose now if we have a ...
-1
votes
1answer
225 views

Scalar field lagrangian and potential

This question is a continuation of this Phys.SE post. Scalar field theory does not have gauge symmetry, and in particular, $\phi\to\phi−1$ is not a gauge transformation. but why? and I want see the ...
2
votes
2answers
238 views

Does a constant factor matter in the definition of the Noether current?

This is a very basic Lagrangian Field Theory question, it is about a definition convention. It takes much more time to typeset it than answering, but here it is: Consider a field Lagrangian with only ...
1
vote
2answers
187 views

In Noether's theorem, what is a “classical solution of the equations of motion”?

I'm reading a book which states that: for each generator of a global symmetry transformation, there is a current $j^{\mu}_{a}$ which, when evaluated on a classical solution of the equations of ...
4
votes
3answers
366 views

Calculating the (on-shell) action of a free particle

I am having difficulty with the first problem from Feynman and Hibbs' book. For a free particle $L = (m/2)\dot{x}^2$. Show that the (on-shell) action $S_{cl}$ corresponding to the classical ...
1
vote
1answer
1k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
166 views

How is the physical Lagrangian related to the constrained minimization Lagrangian?

If we're minimizing an energy $V(q)$ subject to constraints $C(q) = 0$, the Lagrangian is $$L = V(q) + \lambda C(q).$$ I have fairly solid intuition for this Lagrangian, namely that the energy ...
0
votes
1answer
122 views

Fast question about Lagrangian

I've seen some problems solved in a weird way, I just want to be sure: the whole kinetic energy has to be in the lagrangian, right? For example, if we have a particle fixed in a plane with spherical ...
1
vote
1answer
446 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
394 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?
3
votes
2answers
891 views

Where does the mass term come from in the Proca Lagrangian?

There are many good books describing how to construct the Lagrangian for an electromagnetic field in a medium. $$ \mathcal{L}~=~-\frac{1}{16\pi}F^{\mu\nu}F_{\mu\nu}-\frac{1}{c}j^{\nu}A_{\nu} $$ ...
1
vote
0answers
91 views

relevant 4-dimensional theory with interacting vector field

A simple langragian that gives the simplest interaction is $\mathcal{L}=(\partial\phi)^2+(m\phi)^2$ where $m$ is some constant. Does anyone know of theory in four dimensions which is physically ...
0
votes
1answer
2k views

Hamilton's equations for a simple pendulum

I don't get how to use Hamilton's equations in mechanics, for example let's take the simple pendulum with $$H=\frac{p^2}{2mR^2}+mgR(1-\cos\theta)$$ Now Hamilton's equations will be: $$\dot ...
37
votes
4answers
2k views

Is there a Lagrangian formulation of statistical mechanics?

In statistical mechanics, we usually think in terms of the Hamiltonian formalism. At a particular time $t$, the system is in a particular state, where "state" means the generalised coordinates and ...
11
votes
1answer
820 views

Do an action and its Euler-Lagrange equations have the same symmetries?

Assume a certain action $S$ with certain symmetries, from which according to the Lagrangian formalism, the equations of motion (EOM) of the system are the corresponding Euler-Lagrange equations. Can ...
0
votes
2answers
404 views

Hamiltonian and non conservative force

I have to find the Hamiltonian of a charged particle in a uniform magnetic field; the potential vector is $ \vec {A}= B/2 (-y, x, 0)$. I know that $$H=\sum_i p_i \dot q_i -L$$ where $p_i$ is ...
2
votes
1answer
461 views

Electrodynamics and the Lagrangian density

Could anyone tell me what equations can I obtain from the Lagrangian density $${\cal L}(\phi,\,\,\phi_{,i},\,\,A_i, \dot A_i,\,\,A_{i,j})~=~\frac{1}{2}|\dot A+\nabla\phi|^2-\frac{1}{2}|\nabla \times ...
31
votes
13answers
2k views

Lagrangians not of the form $T-U$

My Physics teacher was reluctant to define Lagrangian as Kinetic Energy minus Potential Energy because he said that there were cases where a system's Lagrangian did not take this form. Are you are ...
3
votes
5answers
1k views

Good book for Analytical Mechanics

What is a good book for Analytical Mechanics? To be more specific, I would prefer a book that: Is written "for mathematicians", i.e. with high mathematics precision (for example, with less emphasis ...
0
votes
0answers
363 views

How to find angular velocity of a point inner a circumference

Let's consider a cicumference that have the center in the origin of axes and rotates around x-axes. Let's stick a bar in a point $A$ of this circumference and at the end of the bar let's stick a mass ...
2
votes
3answers
330 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
votes
1answer
128 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 $\delta \phi = \alpha \phi$, ...
4
votes
3answers
362 views

Writing $\dot{q}$ in terms of $p$ in the Hamiltonian formulation

In the Hamiltonian formulation, we make a Legendre transformation of the Lagrangian and it should be written in terms of the coordinates $q$ and momentum $p$. Can we always write $dq/dt$ in terms of ...
2
votes
6answers
3k views

How are constraint forces represented in Lagrangian mechanics?

Suppose we try to obtain the movement equation for a particle sliding on a sphere (no friction, ideal bodies...). The only forces acting on the particle are its weight and - here's my problem - a ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Lorentz invariance of the integration measure

This is regards to the lorentz invariance of a classical scalar field theory. We assume that the action which is $S= \int d^4 x \mathcal{L}$, is invariant under a Lorentz transformation. How do you ...
1
vote
0answers
382 views

Normal modes of oscillation: how to find them

Are normal modes the eigenvectors of the matrix $(\omega ^2 T- V)$ where $T$ is the matrix of kinetic energy and $V$ is the matrix of potential energy? Is it the only way to express them? How can I ...
2
votes
1answer
295 views

Scalar Field Theory Decay/Scattering

I have a few questions related to the following interaction Lagrangian (no use of crossing symmetry in the following) involving the uncharged scalar $\chi$ and the charged scalar $\phi$: ...
7
votes
1answer
562 views

Lagrangian of 2D square lattice of point masses connected by springs

Zee's QFT book mentions the Lagrangian of a square 2D horizontal lattice of point masses, connected by springs, and considering only vertical displacements $q_{i}$, as $ L = \frac{1}{2} ...
9
votes
1answer
278 views

Lagrangian for Goldstone mode + topological excitation

The XY-model Hamiltonian is the following, $${\cal H}~=~-J\sum_{\langle i,j\rangle} \cos (\theta_i -\theta_j).$$ The Goldstone mode corresponds to term $(\nabla \theta)^2$ in the effective ...
2
votes
4answers
666 views

Why the Hamiltonian and the Lagrangian are used interchangeably in QFT perturbation calculations

Whenever one needs to calculate correlation functions in QFT using perturbations one encounters the following expression: $\langle 0| some\ operators \times \exp(iS_{(t)}) |0\rangle$ where, ...
9
votes
4answers
306 views

What makes an equation an 'equation of motion'?

Every now and then, I find myself reading papers/text talking about how this equation is a constraint but that equation is an equation of motion which satisfies this constraint. For example, in the ...
2
votes
1answer
339 views

Euler-Lagrange Equation

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 Lagrange ...
1
vote
1answer
198 views

A particular case when Lagrange equation is equivalent to equation of motion on a Riemannian manifold

Suppose a particle is moving on a surface of a sphere,then it contains a holonomic constraint and so the three Cartesian co-ordinates are available with a constraint equation(equation of surface in ...
2
votes
1answer
195 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
342 views

Application of Noether's theorem

Consider one parameter transformation: $y = y ( \tilde{y}, \alpha)$ such that lagrangian satisfies: $\tilde{L}(\tilde{y}, \alpha) = L(y ( \tilde{y}, \alpha))$. We say that equation is invariant ...
1
vote
1answer
322 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 ...