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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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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649 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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4answers
298 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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4answers
626 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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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{\...
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812 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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Motivation for form of Lagrangian

This question (in lagrangian mechanics) might be silly, but why is the Lagrangian L defined as: $L = T - V$? I understand that the total mechanical energy of an isolated system is conserved, and that ...
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568 views

Why lagrangian is negative number?

In the special relativistic action for a massive point particle, $$\int_{t_i}^{t_f}\mathcal {L}dt,$$ why is the Lagrangian $$\mathcal {L}=-E_o\gamma^{-1}$$ a negative number?
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475 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 $...
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355 views

Goldstein's derivation of the 'principle of least action'

I want make an punctual question ands it's about The derivation of the expression $$ \Delta\int_{t_1}^{t_2} Ldt=L(t_2)\Delta t_2-L(t_1)\Delta t_1 + \int_{t_1}^{t_2} \delta L dt. \tag{8.74}$$ You can ...
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401 views

Constructing Lagrangian from the Hamiltonian

Given the Lagrangian $L$ for a system, we can construct the hamiltonian $H$ using the definition $H=\sum\limits_{i}p_i\dot{q}_i-L$ where $p_i=\frac{\partial L}{\partial \dot{q}_i}$. Therefore, to ...
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619 views

Geodesic Equation from variation: Is the squared lagrangian equivalent?

It is well known that geodesics on some manifold $M$, covered by some coordinates ${x_\mu}$, say with a Riemannian metric can be obtained by an action principle . Let $C$ be curve $\mathbb{R} \to M$, $...
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3answers
106 views

Gauge invariance in classical electrodynamics

I think that I don't fully understand concept of gauge invariance. Suppose we have a Lagrangian for classical ED which is: $$\mathcal{L} = -\frac{1}{4} (F_{\mu \nu})^2 - j^{\mu}A_{\mu}.$$ First part ...
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2answers
160 views

Does the conservation of the Wronskian follow from Noether's principle?

Noether's principle is the paradigm that symmetries of Hamiltonian and Lagrangian systems correspond to conservation laws of various kinds. Consider a one-dimensional harmonic oscillator $$\tag{*} \...
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1answer
1k views

Why does Quantum Field Theory use Lagrangians rather than Hamiltonains? [duplicate]

Why does Quantum Field Theory use usually Lagrangians rather than Hamiltonains? I heard many reasons, but I'm not sure which is true. Some say it's just a matter of beauty, so Lagrangians are more ...
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1answer
94 views

Why can the bra and ket be varied independently?

Given a functional which depends on a function (ket), and its complex conjugate (bra), e.g. $$F[\varphi] = \langle \varphi|\hat{F}|\varphi\rangle = \int \varphi^{*}(\mathbf{r}) \hat{F} \varphi(\...
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375 views

Energy-Momentum Tensor for Electromagnetism in Curved Space

$\newcommand{\l}{\mathcal L} \newcommand{\g}{\sqrt{-g}}$$\newcommand{\fdv}[2]{\frac{\delta #1}{\delta #2}}$I want to calculate the energy-momentum tensor in curved free space by functional ...
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2answers
441 views

Variation of Action with time coordinate variations

I was trying to derive equation (65) in the following review: http://relativity.livingreviews.org/open?pubNo=lrr-2004-4&page=articlesu23.html This slightly unusual then usual classical mechanics ...
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3answers
8k views

How is a Hamiltonian constructed from a Lagrangian with a Legendre transform

many textbooks tell me that Hamiltonians are constructed from Lagrangians like $$L=L(q,\dot{q})$$ with a Legendre transformation to obtain the Hamiltonian as $$H=\dot{q}\frac{\partial L}{\partial \dot{...
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2answers
177 views

Getting the Lagrangian from the action in curved spacetime

Suppose I have this action: $$ S = \int \mathrm d^4 x\sqrt{-g}\times \text{something}$$ where $g$ is the determinant of the metric. Should I take the Lagrangian to be: $$ \mathcal L = \sqrt{-g} \...
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1answer
697 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 ...
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1answer
655 views

The form of Lagrangian for a free particle

I've just registred here, and I'm very glad that finally I have found such a place for questions. I have small question about Classical Mechanics, Lagrangian of a free particle. I just read Deriving ...
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1answer
66 views

Usage of total time derivative within first Euler-Lagrange equation

As one key argument in Introductoryt QM Class, we've been taught to use a Lagrangian and Hamiltonian generalized description of a dynamic systems, which follows the Euler-Lagrange or Hamilton equation ...
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2answers
206 views

Is the Legendre transformation a unique choice in analytical mechanics?

Consider a Lagrangian $L(q_i, \dot{q_i}, t) = T - V$, for kinetic energy $T$ and generalized potential $V$, on a set of $n$ independent generalized coordinates $\{q_i\}$. Assuming the system is ...
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295 views

Scalar and vector defined by transformation properties

In Classical Mechanics, we are defining scalars as objects that are invariant under any coordinate transformation. Vectors are defined as objects that can be transformed by some transformation matrix $...
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2answers
223 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 ...
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1answer
286 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 ...
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2answers
466 views

The “stationary potential energy” condition for static equilibrium in mechanical systems

I've often read that, for a mechanical system which can be described by $n$ generalized coordinates $q_1,...,q_n$, a point $\mathbf{Q}=(Q_1,...,Q_n)$ is a point of equilibrium if and only if the ...
4
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1answer
652 views

Principle of Least Action [duplicate]

Is the principle of least action actually a principle of least action or just one of stationary action? I think I read in Landau/Lifschitz that there are some examples where the action of an actual ...
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3answers
582 views

Calculating the (on-shell) action of a free particle

I am having difficulty with the first problem from Feynman and Hibbs' book. For a free particle $L = (m/2)\dot{x}^2$. Show that the (on-shell) action $S_{cl}$ corresponding to the classical ...
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1answer
436 views

$SU(2)$ Yang-Mills EOM

I'm having trouble with some indices on my yang-mills lagrangian. I have a gauge group $SU(2)$ and a field strength tensor $$ F_{ab}^{i}=\partial_{a}A^{i}_{b}-\partial_{b}A^{i}_{a}+\epsilon^{i}_{\,\,...
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2answers
86 views

Total derivatives in GR

Without gravity we can easily switch between terms in a Lagrangian, such as $\partial\phi\partial\bar{\phi}$ and $\phi\Box\bar{\phi}$, since total derivative vanishes. But in GR we have additional $e\...
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98 views

Anomalous Slavnov-Taylor identity

I will be happy if someone could clarify the mystery here. Consider the following derivation of the anomalous Slavnov-Identity. It's based on lecture notes by Adel Bilal. Suppose we have an action ...
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1answer
179 views

Legendre transform for non-local Lagrangians, or Hamiltonian of non-local Lagrangian and their properties

This is sort of a multi-part question, mostly dealing with how to treat non-local Hamiltonians and how the corresponding properties of Hamiltonians work in a non-local framework. I proposed an example ...
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2answers
74 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 $mg$...
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1answer
558 views

Why is the Hamiltonian the Legendre transform of the Lagrangian?

So, as the title says, why is the Hamiltonian the Legendre transform of the Lagrangian? I know that from quantum mechanics, one can start with the Hamiltonian defined as the generator of time ...
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1answer
670 views

Point of Lagrange multipliers

I am trying to understand how for a constrained system the introduction of Lagrange multipliers facilitates the incorporation of the holonomic constraints. I am using Classical Mechanics by John ...
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1answer
951 views

How do you derive Lagrange's equation of motion from a Routhian?

Given a Routhian $R(r,\dot{r},\phi,p_{\phi})$, how do you derive Lagrange's equation for $r$? Do you just solve the following for $r$? $$\frac{d}{dt}\frac{∂R}{∂\dot{\phi}}-\frac{∂R}{∂\phi}=0$$ And ...
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1answer
157 views

Can the Solar System be assumed a single body concentrated in the Sun?

This question springs from a comment against my question posted on the Space SE My questions may seem inane, or obvious to most of you real physics people too ... Any number of sources put the peg ...
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2answers
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Symmetry of Euler-Lagrange equations and conservation laws

Continuous symmetry of the action implies a conservation law, but what if equations of motion have a continuous symmetry? Does it imply a conservation law? Also is symmetry of equations of motion ...
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2answers
111 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 ...
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3answers
304 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 ...
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3answers
540 views

Generalizing Heisenberg Uncertainty Priniciple

Writing the relationship between canonical momenta $\pi _i$ and canonical coordinates $x_i$ $$\pi _i =\text{ }\frac{\partial \mathcal{L}}{\partial \left(\frac{\partial x_i}{\partial t}\right)}$$ ...
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1answer
448 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 ...
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4answers
797 views

Is there any physics that cannot be expressed in terms of Lagrange equations?

A lot of physics, such as classical mechanics, General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics etc can be expressed in terms of Lagrangian Mechanics and Hamiltonian Principles. But sometimes I just can't help ...
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1answer
99 views

Lagrangian density for Lorentz force of continuous charge distribution in external field?

It's frequently an exercise to derive the Lorentz force law for a particle with charge $q$ in an external electromagnetic field given by the following Lagrangian: $$L = -mc^2\sqrt{1-\frac{\dot{r}^2}{...
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2answers
96 views

Higher than Lagrangian/action?

When you begin learning physics, you start with equations of motion applied to various physics systems. In classical mechanics course you learn, that exists Lagrangian/action of a system, which gives ...
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1answer
98 views

Are there conserved quantities in field theory which don't arise from Noether's Theorem?

In some QFT texts one writes down the number operator $N$ for free theories, such that when acting on an $n$-particle state $|n\rangle$ we have $$N|n\rangle=n|n\rangle$$ In free theories this is a ...
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1answer
512 views

Non-inertial frames in Lagrangian mechanics?

Building on this Phys.SE post I am interested in how non-inertial frames can be considered in Lagrangian mechanics. My understanding is that changing the reference frame causes a transformation of the ...