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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204 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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1answer
63 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
93 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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1answer
73 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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2answers
106 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+ ...
4
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1answer
68 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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2answers
108 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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0answers
141 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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1answer
35 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 ...
2
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1answer
54 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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0answers
38 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
83 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
111 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
54 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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0answers
111 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 ...
4
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1answer
77 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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0answers
62 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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0answers
53 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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56 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 = ...
5
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1answer
169 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 ...
2
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2answers
162 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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0answers
61 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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0answers
53 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 ...
2
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1answer
119 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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2answers
82 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
81 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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0answers
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 ...
5
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1answer
222 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
105 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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2answers
74 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): $$ ...
2
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1answer
117 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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0answers
188 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
105 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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0answers
105 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 ...
3
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1answer
60 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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2answers
134 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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2answers
53 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 ...
2
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1answer
28 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 ...
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1answer
38 views

Locally accessible dimensions of configuration space

I am reading a book called "Structure and Interpretation of Classical Mechanics" by MIT Press.While discussing configuration space and degrees of freedom,the authors remark the following: Strictly ...
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2answers
286 views

Stress-energy tensor for a fermionic Lagrangian in curved spacetime - which one appears in the EFE?

So, suppose I have an action of the type: $$ S =\int \text{d}^4 x\sqrt{-g}( \frac{i}{2} (\bar{\psi} \gamma_\mu \nabla^\mu\psi - \nabla^\mu\bar{\psi} \gamma_\mu \psi) +\alpha \bar{\psi} \gamma_\mu ...
4
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2answers
58 views

Confusion with potential in simple pendulum

I'm a maths student taking a course in classical mechanics and I'm having some confusion with the definition of a potential. If we consider a simple pendulum then the forces acting on the end are ...
7
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1answer
118 views

How do you build a Lagrangian in particle/nuclear physics? (A specific example)

I know that the terms in the Lagrangian needs to be scalars (with respect to Lorentz symmetry etc.). Also I know that [see C. G. Tully (EPP) p. 85] in general, for $\psi$ in the fundamental ...
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1answer
92 views

Lagrangian mechanics and initial conditions vs boundary conditions

It bothers me that many basic books on the classical mechanics don't discuss the following difference between "Newton's laws" and the "Principle of stationary action". Newton's laws can predict the ...
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48 views

Temperature as the independent variable of Lagrangian

I was thinking about applications of the Lagrangian and I started to toy with some ideas and tried to come up with interesting twists. Immediately I thought it would be interesting to use temperature ...
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0answers
30 views

Can any global symmetry be promoted to the local symmetry? [duplicate]

Can any global symmetry be promoted to the local symmetry? Does there exist counterexample?
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1answer
105 views

Why does $\frac{d\tau}{d\sigma} = L$?

I am given a (3+1)-dimensional spacetime that has the line element \begin{equation} ds^2 = -\left(1-\frac{2M}{r}\right)dt^2 + \left(1-\frac{2M}{r}\right)^{-1} dr^2 + r^2 d\phi^2 \end{equation} ...
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52 views

Legendre Transformation for multiple variables

I need to show that for $F(x_1, .., x_n)$, the Legendre transformation is, $$G(s_1, ..., s_n) = \sum_{i}^{N} x_i s_i - F$$ where $$s_i = \frac{\partial F}{\partial x_i}$$ and has the property that ...
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2answers
98 views

Confusion about what the Euler-Lagrange equation says

I roughly understand the concept of the Lagrangian $L = T - V$ as well as the idea of stationary action $\delta \mathcal{S} =0$. However, I am confused what the Euler-Lagrange equation actually says. ...
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2answers
154 views

Can a conservative field produce a torque?

I am asking whether the following Lagrangian for a point moving in a conservative field, can be correct : $L(r, v, \omega) = \frac {mv^2}{2} + \frac {I \omega^2}{2} - U(r)$. $r$ is the distance ...
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1answer
53 views

Lagrange’s equation: from energies to Lagrangian form

I don't understand how we step from $$\frac{d}{dt}\frac{\partial T}{\partial \dot q_j} - \frac{\partial T}{\partial q_j} = -\frac{\partial V}{\partial q_j}$$ to $$\frac{d}{dt}\frac{\partial ...