Tagged Questions

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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

3
votes
0answers
166 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, ...
3
votes
2answers
201 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
466 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 $. ...
7
votes
5answers
311 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
322 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
375 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
205 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 ...
20
votes
2answers
355 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
424 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
187 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} \: ...
2
votes
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 ...
2
votes
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 ...
4
votes
2answers
203 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
186 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
207 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: ...
1
vote
1answer
190 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

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?
2
votes
0answers
246 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
473 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
145 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 ...
0
votes
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 ...
1
vote
2answers
166 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 ...
1
vote
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?
2
votes
1answer
450 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
189 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 $v$.
5
votes
0answers
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 ...
4
votes
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 ...
0
votes
1answer
189 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
235 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
149 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?
3
votes
3answers
298 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) = ...
2
votes
3answers
457 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
184 views

Potential in Relativistic Scalar Field Theory

My intention is to establish a Soliton equation. I have cropped a page from Mark Srednicki page no 576. I have understand the equation (92.1) but don't understand that how they guessed the ...
2
votes
2answers
322 views

Different approaches to calculating the Christoffel symbols

I would be very grateful to whoever can debug the following calculations... We have the metric for static spacetime: $$ds^2 = -\exp(2U(\vec x))dt^2+h_{ij}(\vec x) d x^i d x^j$$ I want to find the ...
3
votes
2answers
279 views

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 ...
1
vote
0answers
102 views

Lagrangians for non-local equations of motion

Say I have a multicomponent field $X_a(x,t)$ such that I know it Fourier modes satisfy the following equation of motion, $(\delta_{ab} \partial_t + \Omega_{ab}(t))X_b(k,t) = e^t \int \frac{d^3p ...
2
votes
2answers
360 views

Lorentz invariance of the action for free relativistic particle

I tried to check the Lorentz invariance of the standard special relativity action for free particle directly: ($c=1$) $$ S=\int L dt=-m\int\sqrt{1-v^{2}}dt $$ Lorentz boost: $$ ...
2
votes
2answers
103 views

Where is the magnetic self energy term in $L$ for a charged particle in an electromagnetic field?

In the Lagrangian for a charged particle in an electromagnetic field $$L = \frac{1}{2}mu^2 - q(\phi - \frac{\vec{A}}{c}\cdot \vec{u})$$ the energy of the particle is contained in the kinetic term, ...
2
votes
1answer
660 views

Deriving torque from Euler-Lagrange equation

How could you derive an equation for the torque on a rotating (but not translating) rigid body from the Euler-Lagrange equation? As far as I know from my first class in Classical Mechanics, there is ...
0
votes
2answers
258 views

A small oscillations of a rod on the cylinder

Let's have the next case. A rod (with mass $m$, length $L$ and a momentum of inertia $I$) at the initial time is located on a cylinder (with radius $R$) surface so that it's (rod's) center of mass ...
3
votes
3answers
447 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
243 views

Lagrangian formulation for relativistic quantum fields

The Lagrangian for a real scalar field is: $$\mathcal{L}=\frac{1}{2}\eta^{\mu \nu}\partial_{\mu}\phi\partial_{\nu}\phi-\frac{1}{2}m^2\phi^2 $$ How can I derive the dynamics of this field from this ...
1
vote
2answers
511 views

How the boundary term in the variation of the action vanishes

In David Tong's QFT lecture notes (Quantum Field Theory: University of Cambridge Part III Mathematical Tripos, Lecture notes 2007, p.8), he states that We can determine the equations of motion by ...
1
vote
3answers
456 views

Must the Lagrangian always be known for the Euler-Lagrange equations to be of any use?

When studying classical mechanics using the Euler-Lagrange equations for the first time, my initial impression was that the Lagrangian was something that needed to be determined through integration of ...
7
votes
1answer
142 views

Does anybody know of any good sources that explain (generically) how we form Lagrangians/Actions/Superpotentials for different field content?

I regularly find that I'll understand where the field content in a particular physics paper comes from, but then a Lagrangian or action or superpotential is stated and I don't know how it's derived. ...
2
votes
1answer
146 views

Varying an action (cosmological perturbation theory)

I am stuck varying an action, trying to get an equation of motion. (Going from eq. 91 to eq. 92 in the image.) This is the action $$S~=~\int d^{4}x \frac{a^{2}(t)}{2}(\dot{h}^{2}-(\nabla h)^2).$$ ...
4
votes
2answers
252 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?
10
votes
5answers
565 views

Form of the Classical EM Lagrangian

So I know that for an electromagnetic field in a vacuum the Lagrangian is $\mathcal L=-\frac 1 4 F^{\mu\nu} F_{\mu\nu}$, the standard model tells me this. What I want to know is if there is an ...
4
votes
3answers
228 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
149 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?