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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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
426 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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1answer
187 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
221 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
142 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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286 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
430 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 ...
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1answer
183 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 ...
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2answers
307 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 ...
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2answers
266 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 ...
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0answers
101 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 ...
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2answers
344 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: $$ ...
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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, ...
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1answer
603 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 ...
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256 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 ...
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407 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
235 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 ...
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2answers
472 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 ...
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3answers
444 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 ...
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139 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. ...
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1answer
142 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 $$S~=~\int d^{4}x \frac{a^{2}(t)}{2}(\dot{h}^{2}-(\nabla h)^2).$$ ...
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2answers
246 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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5answers
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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 ...
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3answers
225 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 ...
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1answer
147 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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2answers
953 views

Null geodesic given metric

I (desperately) need help with the following: What is the null geodesic for the space time $$ds^2=-x^2 dt^2 +dx^2?$$ I don't know how to transform a metric into a geodesic...! There is no need to ...
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2answers
375 views

Lagrange-Euler equations for a bead moving on a ring

A bead with mass $m$ is free to glide on a ring that rotates about an axis with constant angular velocity. Form the Lagrange-Euler equations for the movement of the bead. Solution: Let us ...
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1answer
74 views

Strong interaction and the Lagrangian for electromagnetic interaction

The Lagrangian for electromagnetic field has the following expression: $$ L = -\frac{1}{c^{2}}A_{\alpha}j^{\alpha} - \frac{1}{8 \pi c}(\partial_{\alpha} A_{\beta})(\partial^{\alpha}A^{\beta}) $$ (I ...
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1answer
139 views

Linear/ non linear Scalar field theory

How do I understand that the action for the free relativistic scalar field theory is non linear? What will be the associated interaction potential of that equation?
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1answer
224 views

Euler-Lagrange for constrained system

Suppose we have Euler-Lagrange system with generalized coordinate $r_1$ and $r_2$, and input $u_1$ and $u_2$. I know how to prove this system is indeed Euler-Lagrange system. Suppose now if we have a ...
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1answer
204 views

Scalar field lagrangian and potential

This question is a continuation of this Phys.SE post. Scalar field theory does not have gauge symmetry, and in particular, $\phi\to\phi−1$ is not a gauge transformation. but why? and I want see the ...
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2answers
217 views

Does a constant factor matter in the definition of the Noether current?

This is a very basic Lagrangian Field Theory question, it is about a definition convention. It takes much more time to typeset it than answering, but here it is: Consider a field Lagrangian with only ...
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2answers
168 views

In Noether's theorem, what is a “classical solution of the equations of motion”?

I'm reading a book which states that: for each generator of a global symmetry transformation, there is a current $j^{\mu}_{a}$ which, when evaluated on a classical solution of the equations of ...
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2answers
265 views

Calculating the (on-shell) action of a free particle

I am having difficulty with the first problem from Feynman and Hibbs' book. For a free particle $L = (m/2)\dot{x}^2$. Show that the (on-shell) action $S_{cl}$ corresponding to the classical ...
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1answer
884 views

What is the Lagrangian from which the Klein-Gordon equation is derived in QFT?

Is there a well-known Lagrangian that, writing the corresponding eq of motion, gives the Klein-Gordon Equation in QFT? If so, what is it? What is the canonical conjugate momentum? I derive the same ...
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2answers
146 views

How is the physical Lagrangian related to the constrained minimization Lagrangian?

If we're minimizing an energy $V(q)$ subject to constraints $C(q) = 0$, the Lagrangian is $$L = V(q) + \lambda C(q).$$ I have fairly solid intuition for this Lagrangian, namely that the energy ...
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1answer
118 views

Fast question about Lagrangian

I've seen some problems solved in a weird way, I just want to be sure: the whole kinetic energy has to be in the lagrangian, right? For example, if we have a particle fixed in a plane with spherical ...
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1answer
339 views

How would you use the Euler-Lagrange equation to predict the motion of projectiles with linear (Stokes) drag (but no wind)?

My first instinct would be to use the force $$\vec{F} =- \alpha \vec{v}$$ and therefore $$V(\vec{r}) = \alpha \int_C \vec{v}\cdot d\vec{s} = \alpha \int_C \vec{v}\cdot \vec{v} dt = \alpha \int_C ...
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2answers
337 views

Why lagrangian is negative number?

In the special relativistic action for a massive point particle, $$\int_{t_i}^{t_f}\mathcal {L}dt,$$ why is the Lagrangian $$\mathcal {L}=-E_o\gamma^{-1}$$ a negative number?
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612 views

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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0answers
87 views

relevant 4-dimensional theory with interacting vector field

A simple langragian that gives the simplest interaction is $\mathcal{L}=(\partial\phi)^2+(m\phi)^2$ where $m$ is some constant. Does anyone know of theory in four dimensions which is physically ...
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1answer
1k views

Hamilton's equations for a simple pendulum

I don't get how to use Hamilton's equations in mechanics, for example let's take the simple pendulum with $$H=\frac{p^2}{2mR^2}+mgR(1-\cos\theta)$$ Now Hamilton's equations will be: $$\dot ...
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4answers
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Is there a Lagrangian formulation of statistical mechanics?

In statistical mechanics, we usually think in terms of the Hamiltonian formalism. At a particular time $t$, the system is in a particular state, where "state" means the generalised coordinates and ...
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1answer
657 views

Do an action and its Euler-Lagrange equations have the same symmetries?

Assume a certain action $S$ with certain symmetries, from which according to the Lagrangian formalism, the equations of motion (EOM) of the system are the corresponding Euler-Lagrange equations. Can ...
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2answers
315 views

Hamiltonian and non conservative force

I have to find the Hamiltonian of a charged particle in a uniform magnetic field; the potential vector is $ \vec {A}= B/2 (-y, x, 0)$. I know that $$H=\sum_i p_i \dot q_i -L$$ where $p_i$ is ...
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1answer
412 views

Electrodynamics and the Lagrangian density

Could anyone tell me what equations can I obtain from the Lagrangian density $${\cal L}(\phi,\,\,\phi_{,i},\,\,A_i, \dot A_i,\,\,A_{i,j})~=~\frac{1}{2}|\dot A+\nabla\phi|^2-\frac{1}{2}|\nabla \times ...
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13answers
2k views

Lagrangians not of the form $T-U$

My Physics teacher was reluctant to define Lagrangian as Kinetic Energy minus Potential Energy because he said that there were cases where a system's Lagrangian did not take this form. Are you are ...