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-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 ...
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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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What exactly is the Action? (Learning lagrangian)

I have been trying to wrap my head around lagrangian mechanics but I find some parts confusing. For example, what exactly is action and why is it defined by the Kinetic energy minus the potential ...
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129 views

How does one express a Lagrangian and Action in the language of forms?

In Lipschitzs Classical Mechanics a Lagrangian is defined as: $L(q,q',t)$ for some trajectory $q(t)$ of a particle And the action is defined as: $S:=\int^a_b L(q,q',t) dt$ How does one ...
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Computation of $T^{\mu\nu}$ from Lagrangian density $\mathscr{L} $

I am trying to understand how upper and lower indices are connected when computing the energy-momentum tensor. In particular, I found the simple problem where the Lagrangian density is given as $$\...
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160 views

Does a symmetry necessarily leave the action invariant?

A symmetry maps a configuration with stationary action to another configuration with stationary action. However, does it necessarily preserve the value of the action exactly? It seems that it should ...
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233 views

Total derivative in action of the field theory

Consider a classical field theory. When applying the least action I see that a term is considered total derivative. We say that $$\int \partial_\mu (\frac {\partial L}{\partial(\partial_\mu \phi)}\...
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174 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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353 views

Boundary term in Einstein-Hilbert action

Why is the boundary term in the Einstein-Hilbert action, the Gibbons-Hawking-York term, generally "missing" in General Relativity courses, IMPORTANT from the variational viewpoint, geometrical setting ...
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420 views

The BRST construction for YM with or without auxiliary field

I'm learning BRST symmetry for Yang-Mills theory and I see that there are two ways of writing BRST differential. In some books (for example Ryder's and Ramond's textbooks) BRST differential acts as \...
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Is it possible to project a problem of mechanics in a lower dimensionality?

I had the intuition that, in classical mechanics, when the trajectory of a body is known, then analysis of its motion can be done in the linear space of that trajectory, if all forces are projected on ...
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Where does the mass term come from in the Proca Lagrangian?

There are many good books describing how to construct the Lagrangian for an electromagnetic field in a medium. $$ \mathcal{L}~=~-\frac{1}{16\pi}F^{\mu\nu}F_{\mu\nu}-\frac{1}{c}j^{\nu}A_{\nu} $$ ...
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Is the Lagrangian density in field theory real?

As the Lagrangian in classical mechanics corresponds to energy, it must be real. But is that the case in quantum field theory? I mean, it should still correspond to some sort of energy, but what about ...
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Lagrangian of two particles connected with a spring, free to rotate

Two particles of different masses $m_1$ and $m_2$ are connected by a massless spring of spring constant $k$ and equilibrium length $d$. The system rests on a frictionless table and may both oscillate ...
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Lagrangian mechanics vs Hamiltonian mechanics [duplicate]

First of all, what are the differences between these two: Lagrangian mechanics and Hamiltonian mechanics? And secondly, do I need to learn both in order to study quantum mechanics and quantum field ...
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888 views

Conversion of the Polyakov action into the Nambo-Goto action?

I've read that the Polyakov action using an intrinsic metric $h_{\alpha\beta}$ $$\tag{1} S_P ~=~ -\frac{T}{2}\int d^2 \sigma \sqrt{-h}h^{\alpha\beta} \partial_{\alpha}X^{\mu}\partial_{\beta}X^{\nu} \...
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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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Path Integral Quantization in General Relativity

In Ref. 1 I have seen that the action must contain only the first derivative of the metric as required by the path integral approach. I don't understand why. I mean why the path integral approach of ...
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The Lagrangian of a Rocket

I am trying to understand how to write the Lagrangian of a system which consists of a rocket losing gas mass in a rate of $\frac{dm}{dt}$, the gas moving in a velocity of $u_0$ in the rocket's view? ...
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Is local chiral symmetry qualitatively the same as gauge symmetries?

I am confused by the role that local chiral symmetry plays in chiral perturbation theory. For the case of chiral QCD with three quark flavors, the Lagrangian is invariant under global $SU(3)_L\times{}...
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237 views

What are the equations of motion for the scalar field in the tetrad formalism?

The action of a massless scalar field in curved spacetime is given by: \begin{equation} S(\phi)=\int d^{4}x \sqrt{-g}\left(g^{\mu\nu}\phi_{,\mu}\phi_{,\nu}\right) \end{equation} Now the action can ...
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Peskin and Schroeder passive and active translation

In peskin and Schroeder's qft book, in chapter two, they're discussing Noether's theorem with respect to translations of co-ordinates. They describe and "infinitesimal" translation $x^\mu\rightarrow ...
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419 views

Invariance of canonical Hamiltonian equation when adding the total time derivative of a function of $q_i$ and $t$ to the Lagrangian

The following is exercise 8.2 in 3rd edition (and exercise 8.19 in 2nd edition) of Goldstein's Classical Mechanics. Adding the total time derivative of a function of $q_i$ and t to the Lagrangian ...
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Why is the Legendre transformation an application of the duality relationship between points and lines?

When I read the Wiki about Legendre transformation, there is a statement The Legendre transformation is an application of the duality relationship between points and lines. What's the meaning of ...
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Can I really take the classical field equations at face value in QFT?

To be concrete, let's say I have a relativistic $\phi^4$ theory [with Minkowski signature $(+,-,-,-)$] $$ \tag{1} \mathcal{L} ~=~ \frac{1}{2} \left ( \partial_{\mu} \phi \partial^{\mu} \phi - m^2 \...
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How do you know if a coordinate is cyclic if its generalized velocity is not present in the Lagrangian?

Goldstein's Classical Mechanics says that a cyclic coordinate is one that doesn't appear in the Lagrangian of the system, even though its generalized velocity may appear in it (emphasis mine). For ...
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944 views

Noether current for the Yang-Mills-Higgs Lagrangian

I am trying to calculate the Noether current, more specifically, the energy density of the Yang-Mills-Higgs Lagrangian. Please refer to the equations in the Harvey lectures on Magnetic Monopoles, ...
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Confusion about virtual displacements

I am self-studying Goldstein's book "Classical Mechanics", and I need some help understanding the part where Goldstein discusses using Hamilton's principle to solve systems with holonomic constraints (...
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Vary action with respect to velocity

Variation of the action $S$ corresponding to a Lagrangian e.g. $L(x(t),\dot{x}(t))$ gives the Euler-Lagrange equations: $$ \frac{\delta S}{\delta x(t)} = 0 \\ \int du \left ( \frac{\delta L}{\delta x(...
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Superficial degree of divergence on Weinberg

Reading volume 1 of Weinberg's QFT book, chapter 12, page 505 he says that if you consider a diagram with degree of divergence $D\geq{}0$, its contribution can written as a polynomial of order $D$ in ...
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$SO(N)$ symmetric theory of $N$ real scalar fields, why do charges have correct commutation relations of generators?

Consider an $SO(N)$ symmetric theory of $N$ real scalar fields,$$\mathcal{L} = {1\over2} \partial_\mu \Phi^a \partial^\mu \Phi^a - {1\over2} m^2 \Phi^a \Phi^a - {1\over4} \lambda(\Phi^a \Phi^a)^2.$$...
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How to formulate variational principles (Lagrangian/Hamiltonian) for nonlinear, dissipative or initial value problems?

Although this questions is very much math related, I posted it in Physics since it is related to variational (Lagrangian/Hamiltonian) principles for dynamical systems. If I should migrate this ...
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In the context of quantum field theory, what does it mean to “couple” something?

Suppose I have the following Lagrangian density \begin{equation} \mathcal{L} = - \frac{1}{4} F_{\mu\nu}F^{\mu\nu} \end{equation} The lecture notes I an reading suggest if I want to "couple to matter",...
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513 views

Does time invariance conclude conservation of energy? [closed]

I find it hard to understand that time-translation invariance necessarily implies conservation of energy. As I understand it, Noether's theorem says that there is an energy conservation because the ...
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439 views

Least Action Principle (Classical and Quantum Theory)

I) My first question would be "why should classical systems obey the principle of least action ?" When we find out the propagator in quantum physics, we find the amplitude to be equal to the sum over ...
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190 views

Determine path of point mass using the Hamilton's principle

I am very new in this field but I try to solve a problem by using the Hamilton's principle and afterwards I want to compare the solution by solving the same problem using conservation laws. What I ...
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Why do the $1/2$ factor appear in the Majorana mass Lagrangian?

In case of Dirac neutrino there is no $1/2$ factor in the mass Lagrangian but for Majorana type neutrino there is a half factor in the mass Lagrangian.
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Sufficient conditions for the energy to be not conserved?

I'm almost embarrased to ask this question because I thought I was by now very confident with classical mechanics. Someone has stated that given a mechanical system with a Lagrangian $L$ s.t. $\frac{...
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Reference Request: Fluid dynamics/Elasticity via Lagrangians

Would there be a book that does what Landau does in Fluid Mechanics and Theory of Elasticity using Lagrangian's/Action-principles, analogous to the presentation in Landau's mechanics? I have only ...
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306 views

Non-local structure of field theory

Can someone explain what is non-local structure of field theory? I know you cannot have $\phi(x) \phi(y)$ term in Lagrangian which indicates the non-locality. However, why I cannot have the non-local ...
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109 views

How the lagrangian density is found?

In Classical Mechanics one usually considers the Lagrangian as $L = K - U$ where $K$ is the kinetic energy of the system and $U$ is the potential energy. One then gets the Euler-Lagrange equations and ...
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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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625 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) = 1+\...
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Higher order covariant Lagrangian

I'm in search of examples of Lagrangian, which are at least second order in the derivatives and are covariant, preferable for field theories. Up to now I could only find first-order (such at Klein-...
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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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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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468 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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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 C_i^{(\...
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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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What kind of fields can couple naturally to a $p$-form gauge fields in a Lagrangian?

Ordinary $U(1)$ gauge fields can naturally couple to classical fields such as spin-$1/2$ fields via the Dirac Lagrangian, or to complex spin-$0$ fields via the obvious covariant derivative coupling, ...