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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In the Standard Model Lagrangian, why does every term's mass dimension have to be less than four?

In the Standard Model Lagrangian, why does every term's mass dimension have to be less than four? I know that the Lagrangian has to be renormalizable, I guess my question then translates into why ...
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49 views

Pendulum point in polar coordinates for Lagrangian

So I'm really stumped with this. I have a particle in a cone, like pictured. The particle orbits the z axis on the dotted line for $r$. So knowing that $\alpha$ and $r$ remain constant in this ...
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124 views

Hamiltonian mechanics really useful for numerical integration? Lagrangian can become 1st-order

(I'm talking about the classical mechanics.) Many texts say that Euler-Lagrange equations are difficult to treat numerically because they are second-order ODEs, ${f_i(\boldsymbol{q, \dot{q}, ...
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36 views

How to define conserved charges in Euclidean field theory?

In a field theory with signature (1,d), conserved charges are obtained by integrating the time component of a conserved current over a spatial region. What are the corresponding equations and ...
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38 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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89 views

Time dependence of the Lagrangian of a free particle?

I am working through Landau's book on Classical Mechanics. I understand the logic and physics of isotropy and homogeneity of space-time behind the derivation of the Lagrangian for a free particle, but ...
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128 views

Definition of generalised coordinates?

I think the definition of generalised coordinates is something along the following lines: A set of parameters that discribe the configuration of a system with respect to some refrence ...
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42 views

Why is Lagrangian defined as kinetic energy minus potential energy? [duplicate]

Why is Lagrangian defined as kinetic energy minus potential energy? $$L = T-U$$ Where $T$ is kinetic energy and $U$ is potential energy.
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34 views

What justification is necessary for convolutional variational principles to be considered legitimate?

I recently asked a related question and was interested in why/or why we cannot use convolutional variational principles in practice or in theory. Summarizing the points I made in the earlier post: ...
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71 views

The einbein in the action of a relativistic massive point particles [closed]

The action of a relativistic massive point particle moving in space-time is $$S=-m\int d\tau \sqrt{g _{\nu \rho}\frac{dx^{\nu}}{d\tau}\frac{dx^{\rho}}{d\tau}}$$ [with Minkowski sign convention ...
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39 views

Why are functional representations of systems important in physics or computational physics?

This was an addendum to a previous question I asked, but I figured I should make it it's own discussion. Assuming I am able derive a functional representation for any dynamical system (dissipative, ...
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126 views

Can we derive most fundamental laws from the Action Principle? [duplicate]

It is said in the book Fearful Symmetry - The Search for Beauty in Modern Physics that we can derive all basic laws in physics from a simple principle called Least Action Principle (although it may be ...
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173 views

How to formulate variational principles (Lagrangian/Hamiltonian) for nonlinear, dissipative or initial value problems?

Although this questions is very much math related, I posted it in Physics since it is related to variational (Lagrangian/Hamiltonian) principles for dynamical systems. If I should migrate this ...
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61 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
89 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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56 views

Hamiltonian density of classical Klein-Gordon field

I am working my way through Peskin and Schroeder section 2.2 and trying to show that $T^{00}$ is equivalent to the expression $\frac{1}{2}\pi^2-\frac{1}{2}(\nabla \phi)^2-\frac{1}{2}m^2\phi^2$ in ...
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83 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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1answer
65 views

Computation of $T^{\mu\nu}$ from Lagrangian density $\mathscr{L} $

I am trying to understand how upper and lower indices are connected when computing the energy-momentum tensor. In particular, I found the simple problem where the Lagrangian density is given as ...
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97 views

Bead on a rotating hoop [closed]

This is problem 10.13 from Fowles and Cassiday, 7e. A bead of constant mass m is constrained to slide along a thin, circular hoop of radius $l$ that rotates with constant angular velocity $\omega$ ...
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129 views

Invariance of the QED Lagrangian under charge conjugation

Is it true that the QED Lagrangian $$\mathcal{L} = \bar{\psi}(i\gamma^\mu D_\mu-m) \psi $$ is invariant under charge conjugation? $$\begin{align} \psi &\mapsto -i(\gamma^0 \gamma^2 \psi)^T\\ ...
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32 views

Lagrangian density with explicit $x_\mu$ dependence

In the Quantum Field Theory book, by Ryder, he says that a Lagrangian density of a field can also be an explicit function of $x_\mu$ if the field interacts with external sources. Can someone give an ...
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51 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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33 views

Alternative formulations of Lagrangians and Hamiltonian? [closed]

We have the Hamiltonian, a concept that was based on trajectories being used extensively in General Relativity, Electromagnetism, Quantum Mechanics, Classical Physics and lot more. Where we use the ...
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1answer
72 views

Does an on-shell symmetry necessarily change the Lagrangian by a total derivative?

This is a follow-up question to: Does a symmetry necessarily leave the action invariant? Qmechanic writes here: Here the word off-shell means that the Lagrangian eqs. of motion are not assumed to ...
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1answer
107 views

Does a symmetry necessarily leave the action invariant?

A symmetry maps a configuration with stationary action to another configuration with stationary action. However, does it necessarily preserve the value of the action exactly? It seems that it should ...
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1answer
46 views

Infinitesimal transformations and Poisson brackets [duplicate]

I want to understand how bracket operations in general are related to symmetry and infinitesimal transformations (in hindsight of quantumfieldtheory), so I calculated an example with a particle that ...
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105 views

Deriving Snell's law via Lagrangian mechanics

A particle moves with kinetic energy $K_1$ in a region where its potential energy has a constant value $U_1$. After crossing a certain plane, its potential energy changes discontinuously to a new ...
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1answer
72 views

In the context of quantum field theory, what does it mean to “couple” something?

Suppose I have the following Lagrangian density \begin{equation} \mathcal{L} = - \frac{1}{4} F_{\mu\nu}F^{\mu\nu} \end{equation} The lecture notes I an reading suggest if I want to "couple to ...
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56 views

How do quantum fields really couple?

The term "coupling" between quantum fields refers to certain terms in the Lagrangian (density) $\mathcal{L}$ where the respective field operators appear together, e.g. $g\phi^\dagger\psi $ with ...
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50 views

Conserved quantities in the cart and pendulum problem

A problem on an assignment I'm doing deals with a cart of mass $m_1$ which can slide frictionlessly along the $x$-axis. Suspended from the cart by a string of length l is a mass $m_2$, which is ...
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55 views

Noether current scale transform of EM

I'm trying to solve a question about scale tranform of free EM. I got the next trnaform rules (these two line where EDITed later) $\delta x = -bx$ $\delta A = bA$ the current I got $D^\mu = ...
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162 views

How will SR EM Lagrangian change if we find a magnetic charge?

When we introduce electromagnetic field in Special Relativity, we add a term of $$-\frac e c A_idx^i$$ into Lagrangian. When we then derive equations of motion, we get the magnetic field that is ...
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144 views

Lagrange's equation implying Newton's 2nd law?

The typical first application of Lagrange's equation is showing that it implies Newton's law for a particle whose Lagrangian is $L=\frac{1}{2}mv^2-V(x)$. Plugging this Lagrangian into Lagrange's ...
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59 views

Hamiltonian System Outside Physics [closed]

What are good examples of Hamiltonian systems outside physics? I heard there are financial systems that can be described by a Lagrangian, and was interested to see some examples
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46 views

Help understanding electromagnetism integral from exercise in MTW? [closed]

I was skimming through Misner, Thorne and Wheeler's book Gravitation looking for exercises to challenge myself with and came across the following exercise on page 178: Verify that the variational ...
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1answer
105 views

Given a QFT Hamiltonian, is there a unique Lagrangian?

Consider a QFT in one spatial dimension specified by the following Hamiltonian density: $\mathcal{H} = -i \phi^\dagger \frac{\partial}{\partial x} \phi + V(\phi^\dagger,\phi)$ where $\phi$ is a ...
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75 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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2answers
75 views

How to calculate the classical on-shell action for a harmonic oscillator? [closed]

So, short and sweet, I've been reading the path integrals book by Feynman and Hibbs, and one of the elementary problems they ask is to calculate the classical on-shell$^1$ action of a harmonic ...
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30 views

Lagrangian when there are gyroscopic effects

I'm having trouble with this: We have a system that consists of a thin rod (approx. 1-dimensional) and a disk. The rod is free to oscillate in a plane with one of its ending points fixed. The disk is ...
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202 views

Noether's Theorem: Lie algebra, Lie groups

I've had a brief look through similar threads on this topic to see if my question has already been answered, but I didn't find quite what I was looking for, perhaps it is because I'm finding it hard ...
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1answer
78 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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62 views

Trying to understand relativistic action of a massive point particle

I got badly lost in derivation of relativistic formulas for energy and momentum. I stumbled upon relativistic action as follows (which should explain relativistic motion of a classical particle): $$ ...
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1answer
103 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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175 views

Do “typical” QFT's lack a lagrangian description?

Sometimes as a result of learning new things you realize that you are incredibly confused about something you thought you understood very well, and that perhaps your intuition needs to be revised. ...
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1answer
94 views

Question on Einstein's derivation of the equation of the geodesic line?

While reading one of the original paper on general relativity written by Albert Einstein, titled the foundations of general relativity, I came across the following passage in pages 167-168, or pages ...
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96 views

A question on Lagrangian dynamics an the velocity phase space

I've struggled in the past with understanding why we can treat position and velocity as independent variables in the Lagrangian, but I think I may have finally become a bit more enlightened on the ...
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59 views

Introducing Randomness into Lagrangian Mechanics

Let's say at $t_o$ we have a ball rolling along a (rigid) tight rope. Is there anyway that we can solve for the trajectory of the ball knowing that at some $ t' $ there will be a random constraint ...
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112 views

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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52 views

Why is the gravitational potential energy of ideal uniform massive spring $mgx/2$, not $mgx$?

In this Wikipedia page, $$L= T-V = \frac{1}{2}\frac{m}{3}\dot{x}^2 + \frac{1}{2}M \dot{x}^2 - \frac{1}{2} k x^2 - \frac{m g x}{2} - M g x$$ where $mgx/2$ refers to gravitational potential energy of ...
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27 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 ...