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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Does the variation of the Lagrangian satisfy the product rule and chain rule of the derivative?

I have seen wikipedia use the product rule and maybe the chain rule for the variation of the Langragin as follows: \begin{align} \dfrac{\delta [f(g(x,\dot{x}))h(x,\dot{x})] } {\delta x} = \left( ...
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4answers
594 views

Why are coordinates and velocities sufficient to completely determine the state and determine the subsequent motion of a mechanical system?

I am a Physics undergraduate, so provide references with your responses. Landau & Lifshitz write in page one of their mechanics textbook: If all the co-ordinates and velocities are ...
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2answers
703 views

Is there a conserved quantity that enforces planar orbits in central force motion?

From what I remember, one of the first steps in finding the equations of motion for an orbiting body is to argue that the body's motion has to be restricted to a plane, because the central force has ...
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182 views

Are there measurable effects to scaling the action by a constant?

Classically, we obtain the equations of motion by finding a path which has an action that is stationary with respect to small changes in the path. That is the path for which: $\delta S =0$ Scaling ...
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250 views

Which transformations *aren't* symmetries of a Lagrangian?

As far as I understand, Noether's theorem for fields works, as explained in David Tong's QFT lecture notes (page 14) for example, by saying that a transformation $\phi(x) \mapsto \phi(x) + \delta \phi ...
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215 views

Higher order derivatives - Equation of motion

One possible starting point to create a physical theory is the Lagrangian $L$. There we assume that the variation of the action $\delta S = \delta \int_{-\infty}^\infty dt \ L = 0$. In classical ...
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1answer
1k views

Deriving D'Alembert's Principle

The wiki article states that D'Alembert's Principle cannot derived from Newton's Laws alone and must stated as a postulate. Can someone explain why this is? It seems to me a rather obvious principle.
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623 views

Relating generalized momentum, generalized velocity, and kinetic energy: $2T~=~\sum_i p_{i}\dot{q}^{i}$

According to equation (6) on the first page of some lecture notes online, the above equation is used to prove the virial theorem. For rectangular coordinates, the relation $$ 2T~=~\sum_i ...
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190 views

Definition of Local Function

Now a days I am studying Srednicki's QFT book. In its third chapter it is written that Any local function of φ(x) is a Lorentz scalar, [...] . Now my question is: What is a local function?
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711 views

What is the difference between manifest Lorentz invariance and canonical Lorentz invariance?

I often read that the Lorentz symmetry is manifest in the path integral formulation but is not in the canonical quantization - what does this really mean?
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1answer
216 views

Lagrangian and Hamiltonian EOM with dissipative force

I am trying to write the Lagrangian and Hamiltonian for the forced Harmonic oscillator before quantizing it to get to the quantum picture. For EOM $$m\ddot{q}+\beta\dot{q}+kq=f(t),$$ I write the ...
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253 views

Classical Field Theory - Continuum limit in forming the Lagrangian density and the elasticity modulus

I have been looking at taking the continuum limit for a linear elastic rod of length $l$ modeled by a series of masses each of mass $m$ connected via massless springs of spring constant $k$. The ...
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238 views

Missing terms in Hamiltonian after Legendre transformation of Lagrangian

Short question Given any Lagrangian density of fields one could possibly conceive, is it the case that after one has performed a Legendre transformation, if the Hamiltonian is then expressed in terms ...
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2answers
707 views

Global phase symmetry for complex scalar field theory

I have started to study QFT. And I have some difficulties in such classical situation. Suppose i want to calculate $\frac{\partial \mathcal{L}}{\partial (\partial_\mu \phi)}\phi$ for lagrangian ...
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2answers
312 views

Is the Lagrangian “math” or “science”?

I've seen in class that we can get from Lagrangian to derive equations of motion (I know its used elsewhere in physics, but I haven't seen it yet). It's not clear to me whether the Lagrangian itself ...
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427 views

What variables does the action $S$ depend on?

Action is defined as, $$S ~=~ \int L(q, q', t) dt,$$ but my question is what variables does $S$ depend on? Is $S = S(q, t)$ or $S = S(q, q', t)$ where $q' := \frac{dq}{dt}$? In ...
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142 views

Non-relativistic QFT Lagrangian for fermions

Take the ordinary Hamiltonian from non-relativistic quantum mechanics expressed in terms of the fermi fields $\psi(\mathbf{x})$ and $\psi^\dagger(\mathbf{x})$ (as derived, for example, by A. L. Fetter ...
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1answer
61 views

What is the phase of a gauge coupling?

We typically take gauge couplings to be real and positive. Why do we impose these two conditions? I assume this is a requirement because gauge theories without positive couplings are unphysical or is ...
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2answers
190 views

Trouble with Landau & Lifshitz

Hello I have a quick question on what I have been reading in Landau & Lifshitz's book on classical mechanics. I am in the very beginning of the book and I am having trouble with his derivation on ...
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1answer
114 views

Rigorous version of field Lagrangian

In Classical Mechanics the configuration of a system can be characterized by some point $s\in \mathbb{R}^n$ for some $n$. In particular, if it's a system of $k$ particles then $n = 3k$ and if there ...
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1answer
111 views

Lagrangian description of Brownian motion?

I'm interested in the existence of a Lagrangian field theory description of Bronwnian motion, does such a thing exist? Given a particle of some spin $\sigma$, which has a Lagrangian associated with ...
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1answer
160 views

Is there a Lagrangian whose Euler-Lagrange equation is the gradient?

I am trying to recast a problem I am working on in terms of Lagrangian mechanics. I am in the following situation. Suppose I have a function $f:X \rightarrow \mathbb{R}$ (a field). In the its ...
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1answer
393 views

Lorentz force equation from relativistic Lagrangian

The relativistic Lagrangian is given by $$L = - m_0 c^2 \sqrt{1 - \frac{u^2}{c^2}} + \frac{q}{c} (\vec u \cdot \vec A) - q \Phi $$ I need to derive, $\displaystyle \frac{d\vec p}{dt} = q \left( \vec E ...
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536 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
437 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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5answers
1k views

Good book for Analytical Mechanics

What is a good book for Analytical Mechanics? To be more specific, I would prefer a book that: Is written "for mathematicians", i.e. with high mathematics precision (for example, with less emphasis ...
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1answer
477 views

Gauge-invariant field strength term in Yang-Mills Lagrangian

I am reading the chapter of non-abelian gauge invariance from Peskin and Schroeder. Why is the term $-\frac{1}{4}(L_{\mu\nu}^i)^{2} $ gauge invariant?
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2answers
169 views

Does locality emerge from (classical) Lagrangian mechanics?

Consider a (classical) system of several interacting particles. Can it be shown that, if the Lagrangian of such a system is Lorenz invariant, there cannot be any space-like influences between the ...
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3answers
5k views

Finding Lagrangian of a Spring Pendulum

I'm trying to understand Morin's example of a spring pendulum. What I don't get is his expression for $T$. I can understand the $\dot x^2$ term in the brackets. But I don't understand the $(l + ...
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2answers
371 views

Variational method applied to brownian motion

It's possible apply the variational method to the brownian motion ? I mean, one of requisites on $y(t)$ is that it must be continuous and $\partial_t{y(t)}$ too, and in this case, $\partial_t{y(t)}$ ...
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1answer
101 views

Can action be unbounded from below?

While solving the problem in this question, I found cases where the numerical optimization failed, suspecting unboundedness of the function being minimized. The function approximates the action of the ...
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1answer
99 views

Special Relativity: Finding the Euler Lagrange of a massive particle

Knowing that $$\tag{1} L= -mc\sqrt{-\eta_{ab}\frac{d\xi^a}{d\lambda}\frac{d\xi^b}{d\lambda}}$$ we get $$\tag{2} p_a=\frac{\partial L}{\partial(d\xi^a/d\lambda)} = m\eta_{ab}u^b.$$ How come? If I ...
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1answer
233 views

How are Feynman rules derived (in general)?

There are some questions (not all answered) on how Feynman rules for specific cases are derived (e.g. Sign of Feynman rules with derivative couplings, Feynman rules for coupled systems, How can we ...
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1answer
230 views

Lagrangian formulation of the problem: small oscillations around an equilibrium

I'm having trouble understanding how some conclusions are made in my book. I'm studying from a coursebook based on Goldstein's "Classical Mechanics", here's what's written in my book, with my problems ...
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1answer
146 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 ...
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1answer
352 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
161 views

Are there two types of D-term and two types of F-term in SUSY?

I've noticed that one can obtain D-terms either by integrating a vector superfield (the vector multiplet) over superspace or by integrating a Kahler potential over superspace. In both cases we get ...
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1answer
139 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
280 views

A kind of Noether's theorem for the Hamiltonian

How can I (conveniently?) show that an invariance of the Lagrangian and Hamiltonian (i.e. the kinetic as well as the potential energy are independently invariant) will lead to a conservation law using ...
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1answer
308 views

Find the action from given equations of motion

Is there a systematic procedure to generally obtain an appropriate action that corresponds to any given equations of motion (if I know that it exists)?
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2k 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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2answers
88 views

A charged particle moves in a plane subject to the oscillatory potential

A charged particle moves in a plane subject to the oscillatory potential: $U(r)=\frac{m\omega^2 r^2}{2}$ There is also a constant EM-field described by: $\vec{A}=\frac{1}{2}[\vec{B}\times\vec{r}]$ ...
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1answer
364 views

Constructing the “most general” two-particle spin interaction with $SU(2)$ symmetry

Suppose I want to write down an interaction term for an action for spin 1/2 fermions that is $SU(2)$-symmetric. I start from the most naive general form of such an action: $$S_{int} ~=~ \int_{4321} ...
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4answers
725 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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3answers
557 views

Type of stationary point in Hamilton's principle

In this question it is discussed why by Hamilton's principle the action integral must be stationary. Most examples deal with the case that the action integral is minimal: this makes sense - we all ...
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83 views

Lagrangian vector field expression

The Lagrangian vector field $X_L$ on the tangent bundle is given in page 4 of Marco Mazzucchelli's "critical Point Theory for Lagrangian systems" to be; \begin{equation} ...
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1answer
51 views

Lagrangian for second-order system

Given an $n$-dimensional second-order system $$\ddot q^i-\sum_{j=1}^n A^i_j\dot q^j=0,$$ where $A$ is a constant matrix, is it possible to find a Lagrangian such that the above equation is the ...
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2answers
168 views

Ball Bearing Inside a Hollow, Spinning Rod: where is the logical flaw?

As described in the title, suppose we have a frictionless, hollow rod that is rotating in the $xy$-plane with some fixed angular velocity $\omega$. The rod is pivoting around its midpoint. Suppose we ...
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113 views

What is the “associated scalar equation” of equations of motion?

In an essay I am reading on celestial mechanics the equations of motion for a 2 body problem is given as: $$\mathbf{r}''=\nabla(\frac{\mu}{r})=-\frac{\mu \mathbf{r}}{r^3}$$ Fine. Then it says the ...
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1answer
86 views

Lagrange's equations derivations

While deriving lagrange's equation, for an infinitesimal displacement $\vec{dr}$, we express it using taylor series in terms of general coordinates as $\frac{\vec{dr}}{dq} \delta q$. Where ...