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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Non-local Lagrangian contact interaction

Conside a contact interaction given by a delta function on their worldlines. Use a gauge fixed Lagrangian for two point particles in terms of their proper times $t$ and $t^{\prime}$. Is it possible to ...
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3answers
408 views

What is the mathematical justification for the quadratic approximation to the energy of a spring in a one-dimensional lattice?

It follows easily from this draw, the length $l$ of this spring as a function of the vertical distance $x$, as $l(x)=\sqrt{1+x^{2}}$ Now, $l$ can be expressed as a MacLaurin expansion: $$l(x) = ...
4
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2answers
299 views

Why is the Lagrangian quadratic in $\dot{q}$? [duplicate]

My teacher said we only consider Lagrangians which are quadratic in $\dot{q}$, and we don't take other Lagrangians. I couldn't understand why. Can anyone please explain this?
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1answer
448 views

speed of sound and the potential energy of an ideal gas; Goldstein derivation

I am looking the derivation of the speed of sound in Goldstein's Classical Mechanics (sec. 11-3, pp. 356-358, 1st ed). In order to write down the Lagrangian, he needs the kinetic and potential ...
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2answers
434 views

Derivation of the Lagrangian method using discretized time axis

I'm watching this video lecture by Leonard Susskind of Stanford: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3apIZCpmdls After some preliminaries, at 34 minutes he jumps into a discretization of the time axis ...
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2answers
234 views

Is the form of the Lagrangian relevant before the renormalization procedure?

In the renormalization procedure, is writing things like $$\varphi=\sqrt{Z_{\varphi}}\ \varphi_R\ ,\ \ m_0^2=Z_m\ m_R^2\ ,\ \ g_0=Z_g \mu^{\epsilon}\ g_R$$ and $$Z_i=1+\sum_{\nu=1}^\infty ...
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3answers
468 views

Calculating lagrangian density from first principle

In most of the field theory text they will start with lagrangian density for spin 1 and spin 1/2 particles. But i could find any text where this lagrangian density is derived from first principle.
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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
182 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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143 views

Naive questions on the classical equations of motion from the Chern-Simons Lagrangian

Consider a Chern-Simons Lagrangian $\mathscr{L}=\mathbf{e}^2-b^2+g\epsilon^{\mu \nu \lambda} a_\mu\partial _\nu a_\lambda$ in 2+1 dimensions, where the 'electromagnetic' fields are $e_i=\partial ...
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185 views

Gauge Invariance of Yang Mills Lagrangian

I am trying to show the invariance of the following Yang Mills Lagrangian: $$L= -\frac{1}{4} F^a_{\mu \nu} F_a^{\mu\nu} + J_a^\mu A_\mu^a$$ under the following gauge transformation ($\theta$ being a ...
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189 views

Gauge Invariance of the Non-abelian Chern-Simons Term

I'm trying to prove that, under the gauge transformation $$A_{\mu} \rightarrow A_{\mu}^{\prime} = g^{-1} A_{\mu} g + g^{-1} \partial_{\mu} g,$$ the non-abelian Chern-Simons Lagrangian density: ...
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3answers
401 views

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
625 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
722 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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3answers
186 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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1answer
266 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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3answers
263 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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3answers
234 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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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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2answers
752 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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3answers
711 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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1answer
240 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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3answers
764 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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3answers
114 views

Lagrangian from Path Integral

Suppose I somehow know propagator for a given quantum mechanical system but I don't happen to know either the Lagrangian or Hamiltonian. (For simplicity, assume that this is non-relativistic.) Is ...
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3answers
128 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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1answer
271 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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2answers
287 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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1answer
253 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
315 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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1answer
456 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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85 views

What can be inferred about this particle from a Lagrangian?

If Lagrangian, $\mathscr L = \dot{q}^2 - q \dot{q}$. Then what can be inferred about the particle? Simply that it is a free particle or something else?
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2answers
186 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
66 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 ...
3
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2answers
236 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
132 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 ...
3
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1answer
161 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
457 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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1answer
591 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 ...
3
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1answer
503 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
2k 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
483 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
181 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
6k 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
379 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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2answers
82 views

Noether's theorem: meaning of transformation of coordinates

I have a question regarding Noether's theorem. In our introductory QFT class (which is based on the book by Michele Maggiore) we have derived the Noether currents in the same form as displayed in this ...
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1answer
90 views

Redefinitions of Lagrangians using EOM

I am trying to understand an statement of this paper. In section 2 this Lagrangian is introduced ...
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2answers
163 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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2answers
143 views

Minimizing the Lagrangian action of an impossible problem

I'm working my way through Structure and Interpretation of Classical Mechanics (SICM), and am stuck on an exercise in Section 1.4: Exercise 1.6. Minimizing action: Suppose we try to obtain a ...
3
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1answer
108 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 ...