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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When is the principle of stationary action not the principle of least action?

I've only had a very brief introduction to Lagrangian mechanics. In a physics course I took last year, we briefly covered the principle of stationary action --- we looked at it, derived some equations ...
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2answers
629 views

Functional Derivative in the Linear Sigma Model

In the linear sigma model, the Lagrangian is given by $$ \mathcal{L} = \frac{1}{2}\sum_{i=1}^{N} \left(\partial_\mu\phi^i\right)\left(\partial^\mu\phi^i\right) +\frac{1}{2}\mu^2\sum_{i=1}^{N}\left(\...
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1answer
693 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, $$\mathbb F_l=F_l+\sum_mf_{ml}+C_l,$$ ...
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2answers
313 views

Lagrange multiplier and constraint force

The Lagrangian with Lagrange multiplier in the form $$L= T- V + \lambda f(q, \dot{q},t).$$ But there are different ways of writing the constraint $f = 0$. Will that lead to different EOMs? Let me ...
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1answer
1k views

Finding the creation/annihilation operators

Using Minkowski signature $(+,-,-,-)$, for the Lagrangian density $${\cal L}=\partial_{\mu}\phi\partial^{\mu}\phi^{\dagger}-m^2\phi \phi^{\dagger}$$ of the complex scalar field, we have the field $...
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1k views

The Faddeev-Popov Lagrangian

This is a non-abelian continuation of this QED question. The Lagrangian for a non-abelian gauge theory with gauge group $G$, and with fermion fields and ghost fields included is given by $$ \mathcal{...
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2answers
658 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 ...
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350 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 ...
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134 views

Is the Noether charge always a Hermitian operator?

Noether's theorem tells us that to every continuous symmetry of the Lagrangian there corresponds a conserved current $j^\mu$. From the time component of this current, we can then define the Noetherian ...
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2answers
448 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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1answer
631 views

Non-integrability of the 2D double pendulum

Context: For a system with $n$ degrees of freedom (DOF), one has to deal with $2n$ independent coordinates ($2n$ dimensional phase space), of position $q$ and $\dot{q}$ in Lagrangian formulation, ...
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1k views

Connection between conserved charge and the generator of a symmetry

I'm trying to understand the connection between Noether charges and symmetry generators a little better. In Schwartz QFT book, chapter 28.2, he states that the Noether charge $Q$ generates the ...
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1answer
791 views

Why are D'Alembert's Principle and the Principle of Least Action Related?

Why do we get the same differential equations from both principles? Surely there is a fundamental connection between them? When written out, the two seem to have nothing in common. $$\sum _i ( \...
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2answers
424 views

Questions about the degree of freedom in General Relatity

I'm confused about the number of degrees of freedom in General Relatity. There are two ways to count it. However, they are contradictory. For simplicity, we consider vacuum solution. First, $G_{\mu\...
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1answer
166 views

Curvilinear Coordinates and basis vectors

In these notes, $\frac{\partial \vec{r}} {\partial q_i}$ is stated to form a basis set for the vector space. How does this happen? Also, how does one justify this equation from Goldstein's ...
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1answer
279 views

Translations and Noether's Theorem

I'm fine with $U(1)$ symmetry and Noether's Theorem, but struggling with the translations of the field; namely $$\phi'(x^{\mu})=\phi(x^{\mu}-a^{\mu}),$$ where $a^{\mu}$ constant four-vector $$x^{\...
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1answer
245 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 = \int_{t_1}^{...
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1k views

Small oscillations of the double pendulum

From the Lagrangian I've got the following equations of motion for the double pendulum in 2D. (The masses are different but the lengths of the two pendula are equal.) Let $m_2$ be the lowest-hanging ...
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3answers
1k views

Centrifugal Force and Polar Coordinates

In Classical Mechanics, both Goldstein and Taylor (authors of different books with the same title) talk about the centrifugal force term when solving the Euler-Lagrange equation for the two body ...
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2answers
3k 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 ...
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1answer
164 views

Least action principle — numerical simulation strangeness

I'm trying to get some experience with the least action principle, and for this I chose a simple 1-dimensional problem of a particle moving in some field. The least action principle would then look ...
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1answer
120 views

How does one prove that the current of a spontaneously broken symmetry generates a particle?

I am having a hard time arguing that, after spontaneous breaking of a continuous symmetry of a field Lagrangian, local fluctuations around the vacuum can be interpreted as particles (without referring ...
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469 views

Euler-Lagrange equation for continuous systems

I'm having a little trouble with wrapping my head around a part of a method which is fairly 'new' in some fashions to me. I imagine it should be fairly obvious, but I am not seeing something at the ...
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1answer
581 views

On a trick to derive the 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 ...
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1answer
747 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 ...
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3k views

Deriving Lagrangian density for electromagnetic field

In considering the (special) relativistic EM field, I understand that assuming a Lagrangian density of the form $$\mathcal{L} =-\frac{1}{4}F_{\mu\nu}F^{\mu\nu} + \frac{1}{c}j_\mu A^\mu$$ and ...
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1answer
67 views

Electron - neutrino scattering effective Lagrangian

The electron and neutrino can interact through an intermediary Z boson, via the Lagrangian: $$ L= \frac{1}{2} \partial_\mu \phi_Z \partial^\mu \phi_Z - \frac{1}{2} m_Z ^2 \phi_Z ^2 -g_{\nu} \phi_Z \...
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1answer
44 views

Why is the Virial Theorem not a Special Case of the Ergodic Theorem? What is their Relationship?

The virial theorem involves the time-averages of the potential and kinetic energies if the motion of the system is bounded to a finite region of space. An ergodic theorem relates the time and space ...
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1answer
157 views

Is there a Maupertuis principle for General Relativity?

The motion of a point particle in classical mechanics is given by Newton's equation, $\mathbf{F}=m\mathbf{a}$. Suppose all forces considered are conservative and we have a constant total energy $h$. ...
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1answer
124 views

How to find symmetry transformations?

For a given Lagrangian $$ {\cal L} = - \frac{1}{4} F_{\mu \nu} F^{\mu\nu} + |D_{\mu} \phi|^2 -V (\phi) $$ with $\phi = \frac{1}{\sqrt{2}} (\phi^1 + i \phi^2)$, there are the infinitesimal local ...
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1answer
131 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 ...
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1answer
337 views

Why do we need spontaneous symmetry breaking in Lagrangian formalism?

I have always struggled with the concept of spontaneous symmetry breaking. It seems to me that many others don't find it very intuitive as well, but that could be just me having difficulties with the ...
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1answer
274 views

Proca Lagrangian manipulation

How can I show that the Lagrangian density $$\mathcal{L} = -\frac{1}{2}\partial_\alpha \varphi_\beta \partial^\alpha \varphi^\beta + \frac{1}{2} \partial_\alpha \varphi^\alpha \partial_\beta \varphi^\...
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2answers
532 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 ...
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172 views

Derivation of momentum in QFT - from Energy-Momentum Tensor [closed]

The conserved 4-momentum operator for the complex scalar field $\psi = \frac{1}{\sqrt{2}}(\psi_1 + i\psi_2)$ is given in terms of the mode operators in $\psi$ and $\psi^{\dagger}$ as $$P^{\nu} = \int \...
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1answer
418 views

Variational form of Euler's incompressible fluid equations?

I am trying to derive Euler's incompressible fluid equations in terms of a variational stationary principle. Given Euler's flow equations: $$\frac{\partial v}{\partial t} = -\nabla p$$ $$\nabla\cdot ...
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1answer
320 views

Derivation of Noether's theorem - A problem with physical significance

My question is about the field theoretic version of Noether's theorem. I am deeply troubled by one of the hypotheses of the theorem. As it is the standard textbook for Lagrange mechanics, I'll follow ...
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1answer
1k 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 ...
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2answers
704 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 ...
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1answer
70 views

Coupling a spinor field to a preexisting scalar field?

So I'm not a physicist, but I'm thinking about a mathematical problem where I think physical insight might be useful. We're working on a Riemannian manifold $(M,g)$ (positive definite metric) with a ...
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69 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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90 views

Hamiltonian Operator for nonrenormalizable Effective Field Theories?

Assuming we have a Effective Field Theory, for example a Real Scalar Field Theory, defined through a Lagrangian density of the form $\mathcal{L}_{eff} = \frac{1}{2}\partial_\mu\phi \partial^\mu\phi - ...
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342 views

How to understand the QED, QCD and standard model Lagrangians? [closed]

How do you read the QED, QCD and standard model Lagrangians? What do all the symbols and tensors represent? And, how can you derive them by yourselves?
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85 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 (...
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644 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 ...
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294 views

Noether's theorem for space translational symmetry

Imagine a ramp potential of the form $U(x) = a*x + b$ in 1D space. This corresponds to a constant force field over $x$. If I do a classical mechanics experiment with a particle, the particle behaves ...
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609 views

Why is the Lagrangian approach preferred over the Hamiltonian approach in QFT? [duplicate]

Going from non-relativistic quantum mechanics(QM) to QFT there is a marked change in the approach used. QM almost exclusively uses Hamiltonains. Lagrangian based methods like the path-integrals are ...
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2answers
3k 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 ...
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805 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 ...
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2k views

Why are generalized positions and generalized velocities considered as independent of each other?

I'm confused how $$\dot{\mathbf{r}}_{j}=\sum_{k}\frac{\partial\mathbf{r}_{j}}{\partial q_{k}}\dot{q}_k+\frac{\partial\mathbf{r}_{j}}{\partial t}$$ leads to the relation, $$\frac{\partial\dot{\...