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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106 views

How is the Lagrangian defined in GR?

Reading about the Schwarzschild metric in general relativity I see that sometimes $$L=g_{\mu\nu}\dot{x}^{\mu}\dot{x}^{\nu}$$ and sometimes $$L=\sqrt{g_{\mu\nu}\dot{x}^{\mu}\dot{x}^{\nu}}.$$ Which is ...
3
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2answers
96 views

Derivation of law of inertia from Lagrangian method (Landau)

I'm reading Landau's Book. He tries to conclude the law of inertia from the Lagrange equations. For that, he argues (by nice suppositions about space and time), that the lagrangian must depend only ...
0
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1answer
50 views

Q: Goldstein chapter 1 problem 16: Finding the generalized potential from the force

I have started to work through Herbert Goldstein's, Charles Poole's and John Safko's Classical mechanics, and I am having a bit of trouble with one of the problems (chapter 1 problem 16). The problem ...
0
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0answers
13 views

Morin's Spring Pendulum gravitational potential [duplicate]

I am trying to do Morin's Lagrangian example of a spring pendulum. I can't quite figure out how he derived the gravitational potential energy as $-mg(l+x)cos \theta$. The closest I could get was $mg( ...
0
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1answer
30 views

Bead on a rotating wire - Conservation of angular momentum, fix points

Lets consider a wire in the x-y plane which rotates with constant angular velocity $\omega$. The coordinates of a bead, which is forced to stay on this wire, can then be expressed as $$x=r \cos(\phi) ...
0
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1answer
54 views

Equations of motion for Polyakov action

In Polchinski 2.1.10 we have the action in terms of complex coordinates $$S = \frac{1}{2\pi \alpha'} \int d^{2}z \partial X^{\mu}\bar{\partial}X_{\mu}\tag{2.1.10}$$ This should be a rather trivial ...
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1answer
54 views

Derivation of an ordinary, Lagrangian/Hamiltonian and action formulation

I am confused as to how the different formulations in physics are derived. In many fields of physics, we usually begin with an ordinary formulation (e.g Newton's Laws in classical mechanics), and ...
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2answers
55 views

Why are L4 and L5 Lagrange points stable as points and not part of a circle?

I read this Phys.SE thread which is similar Why are L4 and L5 lagrangian points stable? but I did not want to necro that thread. It seems that most discussions of a three body problem are presented ...
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1answer
52 views

Using tensors on Lagrangian and Hamiltonian

We can write the Lagrangian (with $n$ generalized coordinates) using the following expression: ...
1
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1answer
98 views

Dirac bracket for the Majorana Lagrangian

Note: See update below. Consider the Majorana Lagrangian $$\mathcal{L}=-\psi ^{\mathrm{T}}\mathrm{i}% \gamma ^{0}\left( \gamma ^{\rho }\partial _{\rho }+m\right) \psi ,\tag{1}$$ where $% \psi \in ...
2
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1answer
87 views

Trivial conserved Noether's current with second derivatives

I'm considering a symmetry transformation on a Lagrangian $$ \delta A = \int L(q +\delta q, \dot{q} + \delta \dot{q} , \ddot{q} + \delta \ddot{q}) dt $$ the general variation takes the form $$ ...
2
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3answers
73 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 ...
2
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0answers
118 views

Ghost in the quantization of relativistic particle

It is well known that in the quantization of certain relativistic theories such electromagnetism or relativistic string negative norm states could arise when quantizing covariantly. Acting with ...
1
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1answer
69 views

Elementary question about global supersymmetry of a worldsheet [closed]

I'm reading chapter 4 of the book by Green, Schwarz and Witten. They consider an action $$ S = -\frac{1}{2\pi} \int d^2 \sigma \left( \partial_\alpha X^\mu \partial^\alpha X_\mu - i \bar \psi^\mu ...
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2answers
65 views

First fundamental form in the Gibbons-Hawking-York boundary term

Let me expose my problem, I am trying to perform the explicit variation of the Gibbons-Hawking-York boundary term, $$S_{GH}=\int_{\partial M} d^{n-1}x\sqrt{\left|h\right|}K$$ The problem I have is ...
3
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2answers
139 views

Minimizing the Lagrangian action of an impossible problem

I'm working my way through Structure and Interpretation of Classical Mechanics (SICM), and am stuck on an exercise in Section 1.4: Exercise 1.6. Minimizing action: Suppose we try to obtain a ...
0
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0answers
36 views

Does the principle of stationary action always work? [duplicate]

Give some Lagrangian we use the principle of stationary action to find the desired euqations of motion for something (e.g. a field). A lot of modern physics seems to be based on the principle of ...
1
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2answers
182 views

What is the difference between configuration space and phase space?

What is the difference between configuration space and phase space? In particular, I notices that Lagrangians are defined over configuration space and Hamiltonians over phase space. Liouville's ...
4
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1answer
109 views

How does one express a Lagrangian and Action in the language of forms?

In Lipschitzs Classical Mechanics a Lagrangian is defined as: $L(q,q',t)$ for some trajectory $q(t)$ of a particle And the action is defined as: $S:=\int^a_b L(q,q',t) dt$ How does one ...
0
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2answers
79 views

“Shortest” path in general relativity

My professor in mechanics course sneakily teach us some basic idea of general relativity. Which one of the basic assumption is particle walks in shortest world line. I understand shortest path in ...
2
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1answer
35 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 ...
2
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1answer
102 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 ...
2
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1answer
60 views

Proving independence of the lagrangian on position of a free particle using the euler-lagrange equation

I asked a similar question some time back but am trying to work this from another angle. In deriving the lagrangian of a free particle, we use the homogeneity of space to conclude that the lagrangian ...
1
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1answer
62 views

Equation of motion of an auxiliary field

I'm a newbie in the field of QFT and SUSY, so I'm warning you: this might be a stupid question. I'm working with auxiliary fields to describe supersymmetric models and I understand that upon ...
2
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1answer
210 views

Reduction of Nambu Goto action to true degrees of freedom

First consider the particle $$S=m\int\sqrt{-\dot{X}^2}d\tau$$ if you choose the static gauge $\tau=X^0$ and replace it in the action you get $$=m\int\sqrt{1-\dot{X}^j\dot{X}^j}d\tau$$ So now, you ...
9
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3answers
700 views

Can Lagrangian mechanics be justified without referring to Newtonian mechanics?

Are there any ways of justifying Lagrangian mechanics as a foundation of classical physics, without referring to Newtonian mechanics? In other words, what is the deeper reason or intuition why ...
2
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2answers
91 views

Why don't we take this term $D_{\mu}D_{\nu}F^{\mu\nu}$ in Lagrangians?

Why don't we take $$D_{\mu}D_{\nu}F^{\mu\nu}$$ in Lagrangians?
0
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1answer
80 views

Lagrangian for free particle in special relativity

From definition of Lagrangian: $L = T - U$. As I understand for free particle ($U = 0$) one should write $L = T$. In special relativity we want Lorentz-invariant action thus we define free-particle ...
2
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2answers
158 views

How to find the rank of the matrix $\frac{\partial ^2\mathcal{L}}{\partial \dot{X^\mu} \partial \dot{X^\nu} }$ for the Nambu-Goto string Lagrangian?

In this case $$\mathcal{L}~=~-T\sqrt{-\dot{X^2}X'^2+(\dot{X}\cdot X')^2}.$$ I was reading some books and papers about the constraints in the Nambu-Goto action, and all of them say something like ...
1
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1answer
46 views

How to calculate the period of the movement from a potential?

I have an assignment, where I have an object moving in 1-D with a given mass and energy, and the potential V(x), and I'm supposed to calculate the period of the movement as a function of the energy ...
3
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1answer
126 views

Why two different Lagrangians to derive geodesic equations?

I'm trying (very early stages) to understand the derivation of the geodesic equation ...
2
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1answer
56 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. ...
0
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1answer
53 views

Deriving lagrangian of a free particle - How do you arrive at Lagrangian independency conclusions

I guess this question has been asked before, but I'm looking at a slightly different aspect. I'm reading Landau's book on classical mechanics. In deriving the lagrangian for a free particle, I ...
1
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2answers
79 views

Total time derivative of magnetic vector potential $A$

I am looking at this document, which tries to establish the Lagrangian of the Lorentz force. Everything is fine, but I don't see why: $$\frac{dA_i}{dt}=\frac{\partial A_i}{\partial t}+\frac{\partial ...
0
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1answer
77 views

Calculating Christoffel symbols from Lagrangian

I was given the following metric for a sphere $$g_{\mu\nu} = diag(1, r^2, r^2\sin^2\theta)$$ and tasked to calculate the Christoffel symbols. There are 2 ways that I know of to calculate them. One ...
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0answers
67 views

Error in Susskind's “The Theoretical Minimum”?

Susskind's "The Theoretical Minimum", p. 117: Why isn't the last formula $$ \mathcal{A} = \int_{t_0}^{t_1} \biggl[\frac{1}{2}m\Bigl(\dot{X}+\dot{f}\Bigr)^2-V\bigl(X \color{red}{+ f(t)}\bigr)\biggr] ...
1
vote
1answer
119 views

Differentiating the Lagrangian to find geodesic equations?

I'm stuck pretty much at the first hurdle trying to follow the derivation of the geodesic equations from the Lagrangian ...
0
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1answer
53 views

Why is the solution of the $\phi^6$ potential not a soliton?

Consider a theory with a $\phi^6$-scalar potential: $$ \mathcal{L} = \frac{1}{2}(\partial_\mu\phi)^2-\phi^2(\phi^2-1)^2. $$ I solved its equation of motion but found that the general form of its ...
2
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0answers
59 views

Decoupling of generalized coordinates in lagrangian

Say you have a lagrangian $L$ for a system of 2 degrees of freedom. The action, S is: $S[y,z] = \int_{t_1}^{t_2} L(t,y,y',z,z')\,dt \tag{1}$ If $y$ and $z$ are associated with two parts of the ...
2
votes
1answer
140 views

Null geodesic equation

For a null geodesic curve $X^i$, $$0=g_{ij}V^iV^j.$$ When we derive the geodesic equation from E-L equations, will this affine parametrization cause it to blow up? How is it justified to use the ...
2
votes
3answers
127 views

Why are complex fields in the Lagrangian?

I know that a complex field has twice the number of degrees of freedom of a real field, and that fields (in QFT) aren't observables so we don't really care if they are real. But why the need for ...
2
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1answer
90 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
100 views

Lagrangian $L' = L + \frac{df}{dt}$ gives the same equations of motion

It is well known that when a Lagrangian $L$ is incremented by the total time derivative of a function $f$ that does not depend on the time derivatives of the generalized coordinates, the same ...
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2answers
109 views

Do the same equations of motion imply the same Lagrangians? [duplicate]

If two Lagrangian (densities) $\mathcal{L}$ give the same equations of motion, are they equivalent?
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1answer
155 views

Why a timelike geodesic maximizes path length?

I'm studying some GR and my book says that in Pseudo-Riemannian manifolds geodesics may even maximize the path locally. That's what happen to the timelike geodesics, for example. My first question: Is ...
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0answers
76 views

Lagrangian, geodesics and relativity [closed]

My background is in maths, but I have been studying some basic physics with occasional input from a friend who is studying for a physics PhD. Due to my background, I am keen to visualize things ...
0
votes
1answer
66 views

Is angular momentum the conjugate momentum of an angle?

Lagrangian mechanics can be used to describe the double pendulum (see here, for example). In this development are the conjugate momenta $p_{\theta_i}$ exactly the angular momenta $m_i l_i \frac{d ...
0
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1answer
81 views

Holonomic constraints and degrees of freedom?

Can we see that a constraint can decrease the degrees of freedom of a system if and only if it is holonomic. Either way please can you explain why?
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0answers
39 views

Equivalence between Chern-Simons action and first order formalism

I can not derive second line from Chern-Simons action \noindent $S_{cs}$=k$\int{Tr(A \wedge dA+\frac{2}{3}}A \wedge A\wedge A)$ \noindent =k$\int{\ e }^a\wedge $R[$\omega $] we have to use ...
-3
votes
2answers
89 views

Deriving the geodesic equation [closed]

I having been reading a general relativity book, but when in comes to the geodesic equation, it is not derived. How does one go about doing this?