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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1answer
385 views

Lagrangian of 2D square lattice of point masses connected by springs

Zee's QFT book mentions the Lagrangian of a square 2D horizontal lattice of point masses, connected by springs, and considering only vertical displacements $q_{i}$, as $ L = \frac{1}{2} ...
9
votes
1answer
248 views

Lagrangian for Goldstone mode + topological excitation

The XY-model Hamiltonian is the following, $${\cal H}~=~-J\sum_{\langle i,j\rangle} \cos (\theta_i -\theta_j).$$ The Goldstone mode corresponds to term $(\nabla \theta)^2$ in the effective ...
2
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4answers
525 views

Why the Hamiltonian and the Lagrangian are used interchangeably in QFT perturbation calculations

Whenever one needs to calculate correlation functions in QFT using perturbations one encounters the following expression: $\langle 0| some\ operators \times \exp(iS_{(t)}) |0\rangle$ where, ...
9
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4answers
291 views

What makes an equation an 'equation of motion'?

Every now and then, I find myself reading papers/text talking about how this equation is a constraint but that equation is an equation of motion which satisfies this constraint. For example, in the ...
2
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1answer
270 views

Euler-Lagrange Equation

A particle moving towards the origin has initial conditions $x(t=0) = 1$ and $\dot{x}(t=0)=0$ If the Lagrangian is L:=$\frac{m}{2}\dot{x}^2 -\frac{m}{2}ln|x|$ This should satisfy Euler Lagrange ...
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1answer
177 views

A particular case when Lagrange equation is equivalent to equation of motion on a Riemannian manifold

Suppose a particle is moving on a surface of a sphere,then it contains a holonomic constraint and so the three Cartesian co-ordinates are available with a constraint equation(equation of surface in ...
2
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1answer
167 views

Relationship between local and global scaling (Weyl) symmetry

Theorem 5.1 on page 80 of this paper says that Assuming that the matter fields satisfy their equations of motion, the matter field action is locally Weyl invariant if and only if the corresponding ...
2
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1answer
271 views

Application of Noether's theorem

Consider one parameter transformation: $y = y ( \tilde{y}, \alpha)$ such that lagrangian satisfies: $\tilde{L}(\tilde{y}, \alpha) = L(y ( \tilde{y}, \alpha))$. We say that equation is invariant ...
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1answer
276 views

What's the motivation behind the action principle? [closed]

What's the motivation behind the action principle? Why does the action principle lead to Newtonian law? If Newton's law of motion is more fundamental so why doesn't one derive Lagrangians and ...
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2answers
285 views

What is the relativistic action of a massive particle?

all Lorentz observers watching a particle move will compute the same value for the quantity $$ds^2 = -(c \, dt)^2 + dx^2 + dy^2 + dz^2,$$ $$ds^2 = g_{\mu\nu}dx^{\mu}dx^{\nu},$$ and ''ds/c'' is then ...
1
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3answers
167 views

Constructing Supersymmetric Lagrangians

It is a very trivial doubt but somehow I am not able to figure it out. While constructing a supersymmetric lagrangian we always even number of fermionic fields. One reason is of course the product ...
8
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3answers
3k views

What exactly are Hamiltonian Mechanics (and Lagrangian mechanics)

What exactly are Hamiltonian Mechanics (and Lagrangian mechanics)? I want to self-study QM, and I've heard from most people that Hamiltonian mechanics is a prereq. So I wikipedia'd it and the entry ...
2
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1answer
366 views

Two masses with interacting forces and an external force

Two masses in 3d space attract each other with a potential relative to the distance between them. There is also an external force on each particle based on the distance from a origin. I want to find ...
0
votes
1answer
327 views

Generalized momentum conjugate and potential $U(q, \dot q)$

On Goldstein's "Classical Mechanics" (first ed.), I have read that if $q_j$ is a cyclic coordinate, its generalized momentum conjugate $p_j$ is costant. He obtained that starting from Lagrange's ...
2
votes
1answer
309 views

How to tell local and non-local in QFT?

I'm taking QFT course in this term. I'm quite curious that in QFT by which part of the mathematical expression can we tell a quantity or a theory is local or non-local?
0
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1answer
124 views

Non-relativistic Kepler orbits

Consider the Newtonian gravitational potential at a distance of Sun: $$\varphi \left ( r \right )~=~-\frac{GM}{r}.$$ I write the classical Lagrangian in spherical coordinates for a planet with mass ...
2
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1answer
277 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)?
1
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1answer
147 views

Symmetries of spacetime and objects over it

I guess according to mathematical didactic, we first think of spacetime as a set and we reason about elements of its topology and then it's furthermore equipped with a metric. Appearently it is this ...
5
votes
2answers
285 views

Kugo and Ojima's Canonical Formulation of Yang-Mills using BRST

I am trying to study the canonical formulation of Yang-Mills theories so that I have direct access to the $n$-particle of the theory (i.e. the Hilbert Space). To that end, I am following Kugo and ...
1
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1answer
187 views

Clarification on a Goldstein formula steps (classical mechanics)

At page 20 of Classical Mechanics' Goldstein (Third edition), there are these two steps given between eqs. (1.51) and (1.52): $$\sum_i m_i \ddot {\bf r}_i \cdot \frac{\partial {\bf r_i}}{ \partial ...
6
votes
2answers
342 views

Can auxiliary fields be thought of as Lagrange multipliers?

In the BRST formalism of gauge theories, the Lautrup-Nakanishi field $B^a(x)$ appears as an auxiliary variable $$\mathcal{L}_\text{BRST}=-\frac{1}{4}F_{\mu\nu}^a F^{a\,\mu\nu}+\frac{1}{2}\xi B^a B^a + ...
13
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5answers
1k views

Why does no physical energy-momentum tensor exist for the gravitational field?

Starting with the Einstein-Hilbert Lagrangian $$ L_{EH} = -\frac{1}{2}(R + 2\Lambda)$$ one can formally calculate a gravitational energy-momentum tensor $$ T_{EH}^{\mu\nu} = -2 \frac{\delta ...
5
votes
2answers
375 views

Landau Mechanics: why does adding Lagrangians remove the indefiniteness of multiplying each Lagrangian by a different constant?

In Landau Mechanics (third edition page 4), why does adding Lagrangians of two non interacting parts remove the indefiniteness of multiplying each Lagrangian by a different constant? If both systems ...
1
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2answers
446 views

Partial derivative of Lagrangian density for vector field

The lagrangian density of a massless vector field is $ \mathcal{L} = -\frac{1}{4}F_{\mu\nu}F^{\mu\nu}$, where $F_{\mu\nu}=\partial_{\mu}A_{\nu}-\partial_{\nu}A_{\mu}$ Expanding out gives ...
3
votes
1answer
257 views

Can I find a potential function in the usual way if the central field contains $t$ in its magnitude?

I'm working on a classical mechanics problem in which the problem states that a particle of mass $m$ moves in a central field of attractive force of magnitude: $$F(r, t) = \frac{k}{r^2}e^{-at}$$ ...
4
votes
2answers
533 views

How to apply Noether's theorem

Say I have a point transformation: $$x' ~=~ (1 +\epsilon)x,$$ $$t' ~=~ (1 +\epsilon)^2t,$$ and Lagrangian $$ L ~=~ \frac{1}{2}m\dot{x}^2 - \frac{\alpha}{x^2}.$$ How do I go out about showing ...
2
votes
1answer
344 views

Why has the trace of the energy-momentum tensor to vanish for conserved scaling currents to exist?

In this paper, the authors say that the trace of the energy-momentum tensor has to vanish to allow for the existence of conserved dilatation or scaling currents, as defined on p 10, Eq(22) $$ ...
12
votes
6answers
2k views

What is the physical meaning of the action in Lagrangian mechanics?

The action is defined as $S = \int_{t_1}^{t_2}L \, dt$ where $L$ is Lagrangian. I know that using Euler-Lagrange equation, all sorts of formula can be derived, but I remain unsure of the physical ...
0
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0answers
151 views

Describing the movement of the object in a particular situation in Lagrangian way

Suppose there is a object M, (sliding motion) moving by the initial speed $v$ and the initial location $x_0$. Otherwise noted, friction is assumed to be nonexistent. It then meets a circular mold ...
1
vote
1answer
338 views

Questions regarding solving the Brachistochrone problem using Lagrangian

brachistochrone problem: Suppose that there is a rollercoaster. There is point 1 ($0,0$) and point 2 ($x_2, y_2)$. Point 1 is at the higher place when compared to the point 2, so the rollercoaster ...
5
votes
2answers
621 views

The Lagrangian in Scalar Field Theory

This is perhaps a naive question, but why do we write down the Lagrangian $$\mathcal{L}=\frac{1}{2}\eta^{\mu\nu}\partial_{\mu}\phi\partial_{\nu}\phi - \frac{1}{2}m^2\phi^2$$ as the simplest ...
6
votes
2answers
307 views

What are the reasons for leaving the dissipative energy term out of the Hamiltonian when writing the Lyapunov function?

I have a problem with one of my study questions for an oral exam: The Hamiltonian of a nonlinear mechanical system, i.e. the sum of the kinetic and potential energies, is often used as a Lyapunov ...
2
votes
3answers
353 views

Can the Euler-Lagrange equations be derived from an infinitesimal Principle of Least Action?

The Euler-Lagrange equations can be derived from the Principle of Least Action using integration by parts and the fact that the variation is zero at the end points. This has a mystical air about it, ...
1
vote
1answer
412 views

Time dependent Lagrangian

Suppose I have a mechanical system with $\ell + m$ degrees of freedom and an associated Lagrangian: $$L(\alpha, \beta, \dot{\alpha}, \dot{\beta}, t),$$ where $\alpha \in \mathbb{R}^{\ell}$ and $\beta ...
1
vote
2answers
497 views

Charge, velocity-dependent potentials and Lagrangian

Given an electric charge $q$ of mass $m$ moving at a velocity ${\bf v}$ in a region containing both electric field ${\bf E}(t,x,y,z)$ and magnetic field ${\bf B}(t,x,y,z)$ (${\bf B}$ and ${\bf E}$ are ...
10
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1answer
434 views

About turbulence modeling

I have some questions about this paper: Lagrangian/Hamiltonian formalism for description of Navier-Stokes fluids. R. J. Becker. Phys. Rev. Lett. 58 no. 14 (1987), pp. 1419-1422. After reading ...
0
votes
2answers
328 views

How to think of the harmonic oscillator equation in terms of “acceleration = gradient”

This is related to another question I just asked where I learned that the equation of motion of a harmonic oscillator is expressed as: $$\ddot{x}+kx=0$$ What little physics I grasp centers on ...
1
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2answers
291 views

Can cos(x) or sin(x) be the function of stationary action?

Is there a way to express $\cos(x(t))$ (or $\sin(x(t))$) as the solution to the Euler-Lagrange equation, in other words is there a sense in which this function is the path of stationary action?
4
votes
1answer
436 views

Lagrangian dynamics with initial conditions: motion of free particle

I am very new to Lagrangian dynamics so I am trying to get my head around the practical usage. So far on here all I could find were proofs and they did not make much sense to me, especially when time ...
4
votes
2answers
409 views

Gauge fixing and equations of motion

Consider an action that is gauge invariant. Do we obtain the same information from the following: Find the equations of motion, and then fix the gauge? Fix the gauge in the action, and then find the ...
3
votes
3answers
279 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 ...
17
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4answers
777 views

Is the principle of least action a boundary value or initial condition problem?

Here is a question that's been bothering me since I was a sophomore in university, and should have probably asked before graduating: In analytic (Lagrangian) mechanics, the derivation of the ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

Lagrangian to Hamiltonian in Quantum Field Theory

While deriving Hamiltonian from Lagrangian density, we use the formula $$\mathcal{H} ~=~ \pi \dot{\phi} - \mathcal{L}.$$ But since we are considering space and time as parameters, why the formula ...
10
votes
2answers
801 views

Deriving the action and the Lagrangian for a free point particle in Special Relativity

My question relates to Landau & Lifshitz, Classical Theory of Field, Chapter 2: Relativistic Mechanics, Paragraph 8: The principle of least action. As stated there, to determine the action ...
3
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3answers
515 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?
4
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1answer
290 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
240 views

Lagrangian and Equilibrium Points

I'm wondering whether you can tell quickly just from looking at a Lagrangian whether a given point $q^0$ is an equilibrium point. Obviously all you have to do is verify it satisfies the E-L equations, ...
20
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8answers
3k views

Why are L4 and L5 lagrangian points stable?

This diagram from wikipedia shows the gravitational potential energy of the sun-earth two body system, and demonstrates clearly the semi-stability of the L1, L2, and L3 lagrangian points. The blue ...
5
votes
1answer
431 views

Lagrangian density for a Piano String

So I'm trying to do this problem where I'm given the Lagrangian density for a piano string which can vibrate both transversely and longitudinally. $\eta(x,t)$ is the transverse displacement and ...
1
vote
1answer
230 views

Improved energy-momentum tensor

While still dealing with this issue, I've stumbled upon this answer to a question asking about the conserved quantity corresponding to a scaling transformation. It mentions that in accordance with ...