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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Equations of motion for a pendulum and spring system

The question is available here: I've modeled the building as a rod on a torsional spring (with a pendulum hanging from the top). $\phi$ is the angle from the centre for the pendulum and $\theta$ ...
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1answer
280 views

D'Alembert's principle

Actually I have some troubles to understand what this principle is all about, so I want to use the simple pendulum in order to get the idea. Since I have read a few passages that dealt with this ...
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1answer
299 views

How to introduce the electromagnetic field in Quantum Field Theory?

There are many ways to introduce the electromagnrtic field in Quantum Field Theory(QFT), such as canonical quantization method which introduces the creation and annihilation oprators by treating the ...
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2answers
518 views

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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342 views

How do I read the simple, but contradictory, Lagrangian ($\mathcal{L} = x + v$)?

I understand the lagrangian formulation of classical mechanics, to a degree. I can derive the Euler-Lagrange equations from the "least" action principle, and equivalently can determine the equations ...
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2answers
573 views

Lagrangian and conservation of energy

If Lagrangian of the motion is $$\mathcal{L}=\frac{1}{2}m\left(a^2\dot\phi^2+a^2\dot\theta^2\sin^2\phi\right)+mga\cos\phi,$$ how can I show that total mechanical energy is conserved? I've read ...
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1answer
133 views

Applying Lagrange's equations ignoring normal reaction

A small bead is sliding on a smooth vertical circular hoop of radius $a$, which is constrained to rotate with constant angular velocity $\omega$ about its vertical diameter. $\theta$ is an angle ...
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179 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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4answers
2k views

What is canonical momentum?

What does the canonical momentum $\textbf{p}=m\textbf{v}+e\textbf{A}$ mean? Is it just momentum accounting for electromagnetic effects?
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Maxwells Equation from Electromagnetic Lagrangian

In Heaviside-Lorentz units the Maxwell's equations are: $$\nabla \cdot \vec{E} = \rho $$ $$ \nabla \times \vec{B} - \frac{\partial \vec{E}}{\partial t} = \vec{J}$$ $$ \nabla \times \vec{E} + ...
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2answers
247 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 ...
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4answers
369 views

Are Lagrangians and Hamiltonians used by Engineers?

Analytical Mechanics (Lagrangian and Hamiltonian) are useful in Physics (e.g. in Quantum Mechanics) but are they also used in application, by engineers? For example, are they used in designing bridges ...
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177 views

Definition of Kinetic energy

In class we had that $ T= \frac{1}{2}T_{ij}v_iv_j$ where we used the Einstein summation convention. Hitherto we only discussed examples where the kinetic energy was dependent of the square of one ...
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211 views

Dimensions in lagrangian potential

According to Mankowski flat space dimensions We can write, $$L= \int \text{dt} \text d^d{x} \left[ \frac{1}{2} \dot\phi^2 - \frac{1}{2} \left(\frac{\partial \phi}{\partial r} \right)^2 ...
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1answer
96 views

Cyclic integral?

Can anyone explain me what is cyclic integral and give me some instructions how to show that there exist cyclic integral for Lagrangian $$L~=~\frac{1}{2}ma^2{\dot {\theta}}^2+\frac{1}{2}ma^2{\dot ...
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205 views

What's an “Action” and what does the Lagrangian equation mean exactly?

How and why would a particle take the shortest path? $L=KE-PE$? What's the $KE-PE$ mean in English? I understand the 'mechanics' but not the idea itself. Please explain simply, I do know Calculus ...
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312 views

Mechanical similarity in Landau

I've read this very short paragraph from Landau & Lifshitz's Mechanics (Chap.2, Par.10) (that you can find here) about Mechanical similarity. I was looking for some more detailed explanations of ...
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1answer
135 views

Finding out Energy value

A Lagrangian is given by, $$L= \left(\frac{\pi}{2}\right)^2 R^d \left[\frac{1}{2}\dot A^2 - V(A_{max})\right]$$ $$E=\left(\frac{\pi}{2}\right)^2R^d V(A_{max}) $$ where V (A) now includes nonlinear ...
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163 views

Angular momentum of particle in dipole magnetic field

Basically I'm just trying to find the expression for the angular momentum of a particle of mass $m$ and charge $q$ in a dipole magnetic field. In cylindrical coordinates, ...
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2answers
180 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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3answers
443 views

Equation of motion of a photon in a given metric

I have this metric: $$ds^2=-dt^2+e^tdx^2$$ and I want to find the equation of motion (of x). for that i thought I have two options: using E.L. with the Lagrangian: $L=-\dot t ^2+e^t\dot x ^2 $. ...
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5answers
305 views

Why can't we obtain a Hamiltonian by substituting?

This question may sound a bit dumb. Why can't we obtain the Hamiltonian of a system simply by finding $\dot{q}$ in terms of $p$ and then evaluating the Lagrangian with $\dot{q} = \dot{q}(p)$? Wouldn't ...
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1answer
306 views

Principle of Least Action

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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1answer
359 views

What makes a Lagrangian a Lagrangian?

I just wanted to know what the characteristic property of a Lagrangian is? How do you see without referring to Newtonian Mechanics that it has to be $L=T-V$? People constructed a Lagrangian in ...
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2answers
189 views

Bertrand's theorem

I found in Goldstein's Classical Mechanics that the condition for closed orbits is given by $\frac{d^2 V_{eff}}{dr^2}>0$.(bertrand's theorem). Can somebody explain to me, how this inequality is ...
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349 views

How to combine these equations of constraint?

I want to model a nonholonomic system of an arbitrary rotating disk in 3D, which rolls without slipping, and doesn't have to stay vertical. (think spinning a penny on the table) I want to use the ...
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3answers
409 views

Principle of Least Action via Finite-Difference Method

I am reading Gelfand's Calculus of Variations & mathematically everything makes sense to me, it makes perfect sense to me to set up the mathematics of extremization of functionals & show that ...
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183 views

Is this a valid derivation of the Legendre transformation from the Euler-Lagrange condition

E-L condition: $$\frac{d p}{dt}=\frac{\partial L}{\partial q}$$ Where $p=\frac{\partial L}{\partial \dot{q}}$ Are the following steps valid: $$\frac{\partial q}{dt} dp=\partial L$$ $$\dot{q} \: ...
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1answer
105 views

Question about Lagrangian mechanics

I have a question about the Lagrangian-formalism; they state that the holonomic constraints are expressed as: $$f_\alpha(x_1,y_1,z_1,...,x_n,y_n,z_n,t) = 0 $$ where $\alpha = 1,...,L$ They state ...
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3answers
2k 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 ...
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2answers
193 views

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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1answer
177 views

Solving differential Equation for the Two-Body Problem

So, I'm following the derivation in D. Morin, Introduction to Classical Mechanics, of the equations for a two-body system. I understand all of it, aside from this one step. When he's talking about ...
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1answer
200 views

Proper time of circular motion under Schwarzschild metric

I'm trying to calculate the proper time of a massive particle circulating Schwarzschild black hole, using EL equation of the following Lagrangian: ...
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1answer
186 views

Why do Lagrangians and Hamiltonians give the equations of motion? [duplicate]

I remember asking my second year Mechanics teacher about why do the Lagrangians give the equations of motion. His answer was that there is no answer to that, it is an empirical fact, and that asking ...
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3answers
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Why are they called “cyclic” coordinates?

In Lagrangian formalism, when $\frac{\partial L}{\partial q} = 0$, the coordinate $q$ is called cyclic and a corresponding conserved quantity exists. But why is it called cyclic?
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237 views

Trouble with calculating Christoffel symbols of FLRW metric using Lagrangian method

The FLRW metric which I am using is $$ds^2 = dt^2 - \frac{a(t)^2}{c^2} \left( dx^2 + dy^2 + dz^2 \right)$$ where $a(t)$ is the so-called 'scale factor'. I did not want to calculate the Christoffel ...
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3answers
457 views

No closed orbits for a Newtonian gravitational field in 4 spatial dimensions

We are supposed to show that orbits in 4D are not closed. Therefore I derived a Lagrangian in hyperspherical coordinates $$L=\frac{m}{2}(\dot{r}^2+\sin^2(\gamma)(\sin^2(\theta)r^2 \dot{\phi}^2+r^2 ...
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135 views

Proving conservation of angular momentum in an elliptic billiard problem

This is for a course focusing on the connections between Newtonian, Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formalisms. We're given an elliptic billiard table with foci 1 and 2, where $L_1$ and $L_2$ are the ...
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1answer
54 views

Doubt about coordinates and point of equilibrium

I'm solving an exercise about small oscillations and I have a doubt about coordinates that I have to use. This is the text of the exercise: "A bar has mass M and lenght l. Its extremity A is hooked ...
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2answers
158 views

Relativistic Lagrangian transformations

I need to study the relativistic lagrangian of a free particle. It's $\ L= - m c^2 \sqrt[2]{1- \frac{|u|^2}{c^2}} $ I need to study the translation, boost and rotation symmetry. I say it doesn't ...
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1answer
2k views

Derivation of Dirac equation using the Lagrangian density for Dirac field

How can I derive the Dirac equation from the Lagrangian density for the Dirac field?
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1answer
418 views

Retrieving Maxwell's equations from the minimum action principle

I'm currently working at the start of Alexei Tsvelik's book Quantum Field Theory in Condensed Matter Physics. I'm kinda stumped on a few essential steps. Starting with the action: $$S = \int dt \int ...
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2answers
180 views

Why does Lagrangian of free particle depend on the square of the velocity ?

Why does Lagrangian of free particle depend on the square of the velocity ? For example, $L(v^4)$ also doesn't depend on direction of $v$.
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81 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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2answers
106 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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183 views

A Type of Pendulum [closed]

Is there any chance that $$rtl(\ddot\omega+\ddot\phi)\cdot\sin{(\phi+\omega t)}- gl\dot\phi \cdot \sin{\phi} + ltr\dot\omega(\dot\phi^2-\dot\omega)\cdot \cos{(\phi+\omega t)}-gtr\cos{(\omega ...
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1answer
216 views

Determinant for a coupled fluctuation Lagrangian

Lets consider a bosonic physical system in variables $t, x$ and $y(x)$ ($x$ dependent) with a classical Lagrangian $L$. To first order in fluctuations $x \to x+\xi_1$ and $y \to y+\xi_2$ the ...
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1answer
140 views

Total energy is extremal for the static solutions of equation of motions

In physics total energy is extremal for the static solutions of equation of motions. Can anyone explain this sentence to me?
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3answers
281 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) = ...
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3answers
422 views

Lagrangian mechanics and time derivative on general coordinates

I am reading a book on analytical mechanics on Lagrangian. I get a bit idea on the method: we can use any coordinates and write down the kinetic energy $T$ and potential $V$ in terms of the general ...