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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Terminal conditions and boundary terms in Lagrangian formulations: what do different choices mean?

For the sake of having compact expressions: $$ \left\langle f,g\right\rangle=\int^T_0 f(t)g(t)\,\text{d}t $$ Given some functional: $$ F=\frac{1}{2}m\!\left\langle ...
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63 views

Euler-Lagrange equation with torsion, question on derivatives

Consider a mechanical system, the Lagrangian of which is: $$-L(u,\dot u)=\int\left(\dfrac{\partial^2 u}{\partial x^2}\right)^2\mathrm{d}x$$ This would correspond to a system in torsion, for example. ...
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67 views

Definition of the Lagrangian for a relativistic point particle in curved space

I have read that the Lagrangian in GR is defined as $L=\frac{\mathrm{d}s}{\mathrm{d}u}$, where $\mathrm{d}s = g_{ab}\mathrm{d}x^a\mathrm{d}x^b$ is the line element with the metric tensor $g_ab$ and ...
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58 views

Is there a sensible fully-discretized Hamilton's principle?

In computational physics it is common to formulate Hamilton's principle in a semi-discrete way, where space is continuous but time is discrete: in other words the Lagrangian $$L(q, \dot q, t): ...
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217 views

Electric current $j^{\mu}$ in standard QED vs. scalar QED

The expression for the 4-current $j^{\mu}$ in standard QED is $$ e\bar{\Psi}\gamma^\mu\Psi $$ and $$ \frac{e}{2 i}(\psi^\dagger D^\mu \psi - (D^\mu \psi)^\dagger \psi) $$ in scalar QED. I ...
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132 views

Non-conservative Derivation of Lagrangian [closed]

I was previously led to a recent paper by a SE member that did an alternative derivation of the Lagrangian as an initial value problem with two paths rather than the traditional boundary value method. ...
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41 views

Recommendation about higher derivative theory

Are there some textbook or review about following parts of higher derivative Lagrangian? How to figure out the degrees of freedom of higher derivative theory? How to analyse the stability of a ...
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1answer
50 views

Does invariance under infinite small transformation imply invariance to the finite one?

Let's say that I have finite chiral transform and I would like to show invariance of Dirac's Lagrangian when $m=0$ under it. The chiral transform is defined as: $$\psi(x) \rightarrow \psi'(x) =e^{i ...
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99 views

Independence of position and velocity in Lagrangian from the point of view of physics?

I would like to continue discussion from my previous post on time dependence of lagrangian Time dependence of the Lagrangian of a free particle?. I have also read this old post Why does calculus of ...
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1answer
87 views

2D square lattice, nearest neighbor and next-nearest connected by springs

For my field theory class I am trying to build the Lagrangian for the following system. Consider a 2D square lattice where the nearest and next-nearest neighbor interactions are modeled by springs ...
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32 views

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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74 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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2answers
146 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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42 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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1answer
39 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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3answers
104 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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2answers
270 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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43 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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36 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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100 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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45 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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1answer
162 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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227 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
65 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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95 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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79 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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110 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
71 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
113 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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1answer
179 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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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 ...
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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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40 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
86 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
56 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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115 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
79 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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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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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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57 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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1answer
170 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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2answers
186 views

Lagrange's equation implying Newton's 2nd law? [duplicate]

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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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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55 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
120 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
85 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
83 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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242 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 ...