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)

5
votes
2answers
431 views

Is it circular reasoning to derive Newton's laws from action minimization?

Usually, a typical example of the use of the action principle that I've read a lot is the derivation of Newton's equation (generalized to coordinate $q(t)$). However, in the classical mechanics ...
5
votes
1answer
296 views

formal framework for talking about 'minimal couplings'

usually on physical theories one would have Lagrangians or Hamiltonians with multiple fields; say, a vector $A_{\mu}$ and a scalar $\phi$ and one would postulate ad hoc a coupling between the fields ...
5
votes
1answer
74 views

Pendulum with a rotating point of support from Landau-Lifschitz

I found this problem in Landau-Lifschitz vol.1 (Mechanics) A simple pendulum of mass $m$, length $l$ whose point of support moves uniformly on a vertical circle with constant frequency $\gamma$. ...
5
votes
2answers
536 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
118 views

Sign in front of QFT kinetic terms

I'd like to know if the sign in front of a kinetic term in QFT important. For the scalar field we conventionally write (in the $ + --- $ metric), \begin{equation} {\cal L} _{ kin} = \frac{1}{2} ...
5
votes
1answer
270 views

What is Maupertuis' principle good for?

The strength of Hamilton's principle is obvious to me and I see the advantage. Now, for conservative systems we also have Maupertuis' principle that says: $$ \delta \int p dq =0$$ and I am not sure ...
5
votes
2answers
261 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Constraint force on a rod

I really hope someone will take a quick look at the following, I would just love to better understand it... This exercise is from Arnold's "Mathematical Methods of Classical Mechanics", p. 97 in the ...
5
votes
1answer
381 views

How to find the Stress-Energy tensor?

I am a bit at loss about how to proceed to find the stress-energy tensor given some distribution of matter. The Wikipedia page gives some examples, and some (inequivalent) definitions for it: Using ...
5
votes
2answers
331 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
394 views

Lagrangian density for a Piano String

So I'm trying to do this problem where I'm given the Lagrangian density for a piano string which can vibrate both transversely and longitudinally. $\eta(x,t)$ is the transverse displacement and ...
5
votes
0answers
328 views

Is Feynman talking about the Zeroth Law of Thermodynamics?

In Volume 1 Chapter 39 of the Feynman Lectures on Physics, Feynman derives the ideal gas law from Newton's laws of motion. But then on page 41-1, he puts a caveat to the derivation he has just ...
5
votes
0answers
79 views

Optimal tunnel shape for travelling inside the earth [duplicate]

Say you were to travel from Paris to Tokyo by digging a tunnel between both cities. If the tunnel is straight, one can easily compute that the time for travelling from one city to the other ...
5
votes
0answers
415 views

General equation of motion for elementary particles

Elementary particles can be grouped into spin-classes and described by specific equations, see below: Is there a general Lagrangian density from which all these equations can be derived? A ...
4
votes
3answers
665 views

Maxwells Equation from Electromagnetic Lagrangian

In Heaviside-Lorentz units the Maxwell's equations are: $$\nabla \cdot \vec{E} = \rho $$ $$ \nabla \times \vec{B} - \frac{\partial \vec{E}}{\partial t} = \vec{J}$$ $$ \nabla \times \vec{E} + ...
4
votes
5answers
468 views

What distinguishes time from space in Quantum Field Theory?

Consider the following expression for a general QFT action: $$ S ~=~ \int_0^t\mathrm dt~L ~=~\int_0^t\mathrm dt\int_\mathbb {R^3}\mathrm d^3x~\mathcal L ~=~\int\mathrm d^4x~\mathcal L.$$ Here we ...
4
votes
2answers
494 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
296 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
939 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
360 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
369 views

The number of independent variables in the Lagrangian and Hamiltonian methods in Classical Mechanics

It's told in Landau - Classical Mechanics, that in the Hamiltonian method, generalized coordinates $q_j$ and generalized momenta $p_j$ are independent variables of a mechanical system. Anyway, in the ...
4
votes
2answers
189 views

Is the Dirac Lagrangian Hermitian?

I'm wondering of the Dirac Lagrangian density $$\mathcal{L} =\overline{\psi}(-i\gamma^\mu \partial_\mu +m)\psi $$ is an hermitian operator, since upon complex conjugating one gets ...
4
votes
3answers
737 views

Hanging chain in a planet's gravitational field

The curve for a chain hanging between two poles in a uniform gravitational field is known as the catenary. Is there known an expression for the curve of a hanging chain on a planet of mass $M$ which ...
4
votes
2answers
113 views

Landau's argument for dependence of Lagrangian on magnitude of velocity

In chapter 1, of Landau-Lifshitz Mechanics' book, Landau through isotropy and homogeneity of space and homogeneity of time proves that the Lagrangian must depend of magnitude of velocity of the ...
4
votes
1answer
404 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
327 views

How do I show that there exists variational/action principle for a given classical system?

We see variational principles coming into play in different places such as Classical Mechanics (Hamilton's principle which gives rise to the Euler-Lagrange equations), Optics (in the form of Fermat's ...
4
votes
1answer
154 views

Lagrange Multipliers Versus Generalized Coordinates

When forced to explain to someone why one could either set up a general Lagrangian & then incorporate constraints using Lagrange multipliers, as opposed to just setting up a Lagrangian with ...
4
votes
1answer
186 views

Constraints of massive relativistic point particle in hamiltonian mechanics

I try to understand constructing of Hamiltonian mechanics with constraints. I decided to start with the simple case: free relativistic particle. I've constructed hamiltonian with constraint: ...
4
votes
2answers
104 views

Independent systems and Lagrangians

Definition 1: The notion of independent systems has a precise meaning in probabilities. It states that the (joint) probability or finding the system ($S_1S_2$) in the configuration ($C_1C_2$) is ...
4
votes
3answers
206 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
418 views

Generalizing Heisenberg Uncertainty Priniciple

Writing the relationship between canonical momenta $\pi _i$ and canonical coordinates $x_i$ $$\pi _i =\text{ }\frac{\partial \mathcal{L}}{\partial \left(\frac{\partial x_i}{\partial t}\right)}$$ ...
4
votes
1answer
298 views

Differentiating inside an integral sign

I'm reading John Taylor's Classical Mechanics book and I'm at the part where he's deriving the Euler-Lagrange equation. Here is the part of the derivation that I didn't follow: I don't get how ...
4
votes
2answers
513 views

Conversion of the Nambo-Goto action into the Polyakov action?

I`ve read that the Nambo-Goto action containing the induced metric $\gamma_{\alpha\beta}$ $$\tag{1} S_{NG} ~=~ -T\int_{\tau_i}^{\tau_f} d\tau \int_0^{\ell} d\sigma \sqrt{-\gamma}$$ can be converted ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Lagrangian mechanics vs Hamiltonian mechanics

First of all, what are the differences between these two: Lagrangian mechanics and Hamiltonian mechanics? And secondly, do I need to learn both in order to study quantum mechanics and quantum field ...
4
votes
1answer
42 views

Why is the Legendre transformation an application of the duality relationship between points and lines?

When I read the Wiki about Legendre transformation, there is a statement The Legendre transformation is an application of the duality relationship between points and lines. What's the meaning of ...
4
votes
1answer
114 views

The BRST construction for YM with or without auxiliary field

I'm learning BRST symmetry for Yang-Mills theory and I see that there are two ways of writing BRST differential. In some books (for example Ryder's and Ramond's textbooks) BRST differential acts as ...
4
votes
1answer
89 views

How Hamilton's Principle was found?

Hamilton's principle states that the actual path a particle follows from points $p_1$ and $p_2$ in the configuration space between times $t_1$ and $t_2$ is such that the integral $$S = ...
4
votes
1answer
90 views

Can I really take the classical field equations at face value in QFT?

To be concrete, let's say I have a relativistic $\phi^4$ theory [with Minkowski signature $(+,-,-,-)$] $$ \tag{1} \mathcal{L} ~=~ \frac{1}{2} \left ( \partial_{\mu} \phi \partial^{\mu} \phi - m^2 ...
4
votes
1answer
117 views

Is it possible to project a problem of mechanics in a lower dimensionality?

I had the intuition that, in classical mechanics, when the trajectory of a body is known, then analysis of its motion can be done in the linear space of that trajectory, if all forces are projected on ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Lagrangian of two particles connected with a spring, free to rotate

Two particles of different masses $m_1$ and $m_2$ are connected by a massless spring of spring constant $k$ and equilibrium length $d$. The system rests on a frictionless table and may both oscillate ...
4
votes
1answer
495 views

Noether current for the Yang-mills-higgs lagrangian

I am trying to calculate the Noether's current, more specifically, the energy density of the Yang-mills-Higgs Lagrangian. Please refer to the equations in the Harvey lectures on Magnetic Monopoles, ...
4
votes
1answer
471 views

A Question about Virtual Work related to Newton's Third Law

In describing D'Alembert's principle, the lecture note I was provided with states that the total force $\mathbb F_l$ acting on a particle can be taken as, $$\mathbb F_l=F_l+\sum_mf_{ml}+C_l,$$ ...
4
votes
1answer
46 views

How the lagrangian density is found?

In Classical Mechanics one usually considers the Lagrangian as $L = K - U$ where $K$ is the kinetic energy of the system and $U$ is the potential energy. One then gets the Euler-Lagrange equations and ...
4
votes
1answer
115 views

On a trick to derive Noether current

Suppose, in whatever dimension and theory, the action $S$ is invariant for a global symmetry with a continuous parameter $\epsilon$. The trick to get the Noether current consists in making the ...
4
votes
2answers
172 views

Non-local Lagrangian contact interaction

Conside a contact interaction given by a delta function on their worldlines. Use a gauge fixed Lagrangian for two point particles in terms of their proper times $t$ and $t^{\prime}$. Is it possible to ...
4
votes
2answers
232 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?
4
votes
1answer
265 views

speed of sound and the potential energy of an ideal gas; Goldstein derivation

I am looking the derivation of the speed of sound in Goldstein's Classical Mechanics (sec. 11-3, pp. 356-358, 1st ed). In order to write down the Lagrangian, he needs the kinetic and potential ...
4
votes
2answers
345 views

Derivation of the Lagrangian method using discretized time axis

I'm watching this video lecture by Leonard Susskind of Stanford: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3apIZCpmdls After some preliminaries, at 34 minutes he jumps into a discretization of the time axis ...
4
votes
2answers
206 views

Is the form of the Lagrangian relevant before the renormalization procedure?

In the renormalization procedure, is writing things like $$\varphi=\sqrt{Z_{\varphi}}\ \varphi_R\ ,\ \ m_0^2=Z_m\ m_R^2\ ,\ \ g_0=Z_g \mu^{\epsilon}\ g_R$$ and $$Z_i=1+\sum_{\nu=1}^\infty ...