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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340 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
129 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
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3answers
374 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
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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
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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 ...
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0answers
401 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
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1answer
305 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
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1answer
604 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
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1answer
283 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
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4answers
701 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
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4answers
314 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
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1answer
355 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 ...
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1answer
204 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
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1answer
219 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
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1answer
354 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 ...
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1answer
331 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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2answers
388 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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3answers
190 views

Constructing Supersymmetric Lagrangians

It is a very trivial doubt but somehow I am not able to figure it out. While constructing a supersymmetric lagrangian we always even number of fermionic fields. One reason is of course the product ...
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3answers
5k views

What exactly are Hamiltonian Mechanics (and Lagrangian mechanics)

What exactly are Hamiltonian Mechanics (and Lagrangian mechanics)? I want to self-study QM, and I've heard from most people that Hamiltonian mechanics is a prereq. So I wikipedia'd it and the entry ...
2
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1answer
487 views

Two masses with interacting forces and an external force

Two masses in 3d space attract each other with a potential relative to the distance between them. There is also an external force on each particle based on the distance from a origin. I want to find ...
0
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1answer
469 views

Generalized momentum conjugate and potential $U(q, \dot q)$

On Goldstein's "Classical Mechanics" (first ed.), I have read that if $q_j$ is a cyclic coordinate, its generalized momentum conjugate $p_j$ is costant. He obtained that starting from Lagrange's ...
2
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1answer
458 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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1answer
130 views

Non-relativistic Kepler orbits

Consider the Newtonian gravitational potential at a distance of Sun: $$\varphi \left ( r \right )~=~-\frac{GM}{r}.$$ I write the classical Lagrangian in spherical coordinates for a planet with mass ...
3
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1answer
324 views

Find the action from given equations of motion

Is there a systematic procedure to generally obtain an appropriate action that corresponds to any given equations of motion (if I know that it exists)?
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1answer
151 views

Symmetries of spacetime and objects over it

I guess according to mathematical didactic, we first think of spacetime as a set and we reason about elements of its topology and then it's furthermore equipped with a metric. Appearently it is this ...
5
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2answers
374 views

Kugo and Ojima's Canonical Formulation of Yang-Mills using BRST

I am trying to study the canonical formulation of Yang-Mills theories so that I have direct access to the $n$-particle of the theory (i.e. the Hilbert Space). To that end, I am following Kugo and ...
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1answer
217 views

Clarification on a Goldstein formula steps (classical mechanics)

At page 20 of Classical Mechanics' Goldstein (Third edition), there are these two steps given between eqs. (1.51) and (1.52): $$\sum_i m_i \ddot {\bf r}_i \cdot \frac{\partial {\bf r_i}}{ \partial ...
6
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2answers
470 views

Can auxiliary fields be thought of as Lagrange multipliers?

In the BRST formalism of gauge theories, the Lautrup-Nakanishi field $B^a(x)$ appears as an auxiliary variable $$\mathcal{L}_\text{BRST}=-\frac{1}{4}F_{\mu\nu}^a F^{a\,\mu\nu}+\frac{1}{2}\xi B^a B^a + ...
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5answers
2k views

Why does no physical energy-momentum tensor exist for the gravitational field?

Starting with the Einstein-Hilbert Lagrangian $$ L_{EH} = -\frac{1}{2}(R + 2\Lambda)$$ one can formally calculate a gravitational energy-momentum tensor $$ T_{EH}^{\mu\nu} = -2 \frac{\delta ...
5
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2answers
548 views

Landau Mechanics: why does adding Lagrangians remove the indefiniteness of multiplying each Lagrangian by a different constant?

In Landau Mechanics (third edition page 4), why does adding Lagrangians of two non interacting parts remove the indefiniteness of multiplying each Lagrangian by a different constant? If both systems ...
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2answers
752 views

Partial derivative of Lagrangian density for vector field

The lagrangian density of a massless vector field is $ \mathcal{L} = -\frac{1}{4}F_{\mu\nu}F^{\mu\nu}$, where $F_{\mu\nu}=\partial_{\mu}A_{\nu}-\partial_{\nu}A_{\mu}$ Expanding out gives ...
3
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1answer
308 views

Can I find a potential function in the usual way if the central field contains $t$ in its magnitude?

I'm working on a classical mechanics problem in which the problem states that a particle of mass $m$ moves in a central field of attractive force of magnitude: $$F(r, t) = \frac{k}{r^2}e^{-at}$$ ...
4
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2answers
665 views

How to apply Noether's theorem

Say I have a point transformation: $$x' ~=~ (1 +\epsilon)x,$$ $$t' ~=~ (1 +\epsilon)^2t,$$ and Lagrangian $$ L ~=~ \frac{1}{2}m\dot{x}^2 - \frac{\alpha}{x^2}.$$ How do I go out about showing ...
2
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1answer
466 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) $$ ...
15
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6answers
4k views

What is the physical meaning of the action in Lagrangian mechanics?

The action is defined as $S = \int_{t_1}^{t_2}L \, dt$ where $L$ is Lagrangian. I know that using Euler-Lagrange equation, all sorts of formula can be derived, but I remain unsure of the physical ...
0
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0answers
217 views

Describing the movement of the object in a particular situation in Lagrangian way

Suppose there is a object M, (sliding motion) moving by the initial speed $v$ and the initial location $x_0$. Otherwise noted, friction is assumed to be nonexistent. It then meets a circular mold ...
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1answer
481 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 ...
7
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2answers
1k views

The Lagrangian in Scalar Field Theory

This is perhaps a naive question, but why do we write down the Lagrangian $$\mathcal{L}=\frac{1}{2}\eta^{\mu\nu}\partial_{\mu}\phi\partial_{\nu}\phi - \frac{1}{2}m^2\phi^2$$ as the simplest ...
6
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2answers
483 views

What are the reasons for leaving the dissipative energy term out of the Hamiltonian when writing the Lyapunov function?

I have a problem with one of my study questions for an oral exam: The Hamiltonian of a nonlinear mechanical system, i.e. the sum of the kinetic and potential energies, is often used as a Lyapunov ...
2
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3answers
488 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
469 views

Time dependent Lagrangian

Suppose I have a mechanical system with $\ell + m$ degrees of freedom and an associated Lagrangian: $$L(\alpha, \beta, \dot{\alpha}, \dot{\beta}, t),$$ where $\alpha \in \mathbb{R}^{\ell}$ and $\beta ...
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2answers
686 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 ...
10
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1answer
470 views

About turbulence modeling

I have some questions about this paper: Lagrangian/Hamiltonian formalism for description of Navier-Stokes fluids. R. J. Becker. Phys. Rev. Lett. 58 no. 14 (1987), pp. 1419-1422. After reading ...
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2answers
421 views

How to think of the harmonic oscillator equation in terms of “acceleration = gradient”

This is related to another question I just asked where I learned that the equation of motion of a harmonic oscillator is expressed as: $$\ddot{x}+kx=0$$ What little physics I grasp centers on ...
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2answers
322 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?
4
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1answer
572 views

Lagrangian dynamics with initial conditions: motion of free particle

I am very new to Lagrangian dynamics so I am trying to get my head around the practical usage. So far on here all I could find were proofs and they did not make much sense to me, especially when time ...
6
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2answers
624 views

Gauge fixing and equations of motion

Consider an action that is gauge invariant. Do we obtain the same information from the following: Find the equations of motion, and then fix the gauge? Fix the gauge in the action, and then find the ...
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2answers
315 views

Is the Lagrangian “math” or “science”?

I've seen in class that we can get from Lagrangian to derive equations of motion (I know its used elsewhere in physics, but I haven't seen it yet). It's not clear to me whether the Lagrangian itself ...
19
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4answers
1k views

Is the principle of least action a boundary value or initial condition problem?

Here is a question that's been bothering me since I was a sophomore in university, and should have probably asked before graduating: In analytic (Lagrangian) mechanics, the derivation of the ...
9
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4answers
3k views

Lagrangian to Hamiltonian in Quantum Field Theory

While deriving Hamiltonian from Lagrangian density, we use the formula $$\mathcal{H} ~=~ \pi \dot{\phi} - \mathcal{L}.$$ But since we are considering space and time as parameters, why the formula ...