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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Calculate energy from vacuum electromagnetic-field action

I'm reading Rubakov's "Classical Theory of Gauge Fields", and I'm having a little bit of trouble with problem 7, p 15: Using an expression of the type $E = \int d^{3} x \frac{\delta L}{\delta ...
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1answer
175 views

Using the area element in derivation of geodesic

In the derivation of the geodesic, one starts with the integral of the line element (arclength): $$L(C)=\int_{\tau_1}^{\tau_2}d\tau\sqrt{g_{\mu \nu}\dot{x}^{\mu} \dot{x}^{\nu}}$$ The integrand is ...
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1answer
182 views

Derivation of Noether's theorem - A problem with physical significance

My question is about the field theoretic version of Noether's theorem. I am deeply troubled by one of the hypotheses of the theorem. As it is the standard textbook for Lagrange mechanics, I'll follow ...
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The equation of the location of L1

On http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lagrangian_point#L1 it says that the location of L1 can be determined as $\frac{M_1}{(R-r)^2}=\frac{M_2}{r^2}+\left(\frac{M_1}{M_1+M_2}R-r\right)\frac{M_1+M_2}{R^3}$, ...
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1answer
60 views

Minimal vs. Non-minimal coupling

What is the difference between Minimal vs. Non-minimal coupling in General Relativity? A brief introduction to Minimal Coupling in General Relativity could be useful too.
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2answers
212 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
90 views

Finding the creation/annihilation operators

Using Minkowski signature $(+,-,-,-)$, for the Lagrangian density $${\cal L}=\partial_{\mu}\phi\partial^{\mu}\phi^{\dagger}-m^2\phi \phi^{\dagger}$$ of the complex scalar field, we have the field ...
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3answers
115 views

Lagrangian for relativistic massless particle

For relativistic massive particle, the action is $$S ~=~ -m_0 \int ds ~=~ -m_0 \int d\lambda ~(\dot x ^\mu \dot x_\mu)^{\frac{1}{2}} ~=~ \int d\lambda \ L,$$ where $ds$ is the proper time of the ...
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1answer
34 views

Defining quantum effective action (Legendre transformation), existence of inverse (field - source)?

Given a Quantum field theory, for a scalar field $\phi$ with generic Action $S[\phi]$, we have the generating functional $$Z[J] = e^{iW[J]} = \frac{\int \mathcal{D}\phi e^{i(S[\phi]+\int d^4x ...
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Restrained double pendulum

The equations of motion of a double pendulum are well-known. Usually you'd have the them expressed in the rotations $\theta_1(t)$ and $\theta_2(t)$. There are two degrees of freedom. Now consider the ...
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1answer
145 views

Shouldn't Quantum Mechanics change in a black hole?

I recently learnt that the conservation laws are a consequence of the symmetries of space and time (the Lagrangian in Newton mechanics). Since space-time change in a black hole wouldn't quantum ...
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1answer
184 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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0answers
67 views

Why does Principle for least action hold for classical fields [duplicate]

Let $\mathscr L (\phi(\mathbf x), \partial \phi(\mathbf x))$ denote the Lagrangian density of field $\phi(\mathbf x)$. Then then actual value of the field $\phi(\mathbf x)$ can be computed from the ...
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1answer
394 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 ...
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2answers
43 views

Internal potential energy and relative distance of the particle

Today, I read a line in Goldstein Classical mechanics and got confused about one line. To satisfy the strong law of action and reaction, $V_{ij}$ can be a function only of the distance between ...
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5answers
852 views

Quantum mechanics as classical field theory

Can we view the normal, non-relativistic quantum mechanics as a classical fields? I know, that one can derive the Schrödinger equation from the Lagrangian density $${\cal L} ~=~ \frac{i\hbar}{2} ...
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4answers
327 views

Equivalence between Hamiltonian and Lagrangian Mechanics

I'm reading a proof about Langrangian => Hamiltonian and one part of it just doesn't make sense to me. The Lagrangian is written $L(q, \dot q, t)$, and is convex in $\dot q$, and then the Hamiltonian ...
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13answers
1k 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 ...
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2answers
88 views

Derivation of Lagrangian?

I know that the Lagrangian $L$ is defined to be $T-V$, i.e. the difference between kinetic energy and potential energy. Also the Action $S$ is defined to be $\int Ldx$ and from this we can derive ...
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1answer
44 views

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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1answer
49 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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4answers
281 views

The Lagrangian as a metric

My question is, can the (classical) Lagrangian be thought of as a metric? That is, is there a meaningful sense in which we can think of the least-action path from the initial to the final ...
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6answers
2k views

Why does calculus of variations work?

How does it make sense to vary the position and the velocity independently? Edit: Velocity is the derivative of position, so how can you treat them as independent variables? Doesn't every physics ...
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2answers
69 views

Potential energy of an infinitesimal length of elastic rod

I am having an embarrassingly hard time with the derivation for the potential energy of an infinitesimal element of an elastic rod of area A. The picture shown below is an element of the rod that has ...
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3answers
3k views

Physical meaning of Legendre transformation

I would like to know the physical meaning of the Legendre transformation, if there is any? I've used it in thermodynamics and classical mechanics and it seemed only a change of coordinates?
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1answer
57 views

Interpreting Lagrange Multipliers as forces

I am (still) working on getting a good understanding of Lagrange multipliers. I understand their function in an optimization problem that is subject to some constraint. For the specific case of ...
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1answer
65 views

Caldeira-Leggett Dissipation: cannot get it

I am trying to understand the Caldeira-Leggett model. It considers the Lagrangian $$L = \frac{1}{2} (\dot{Q}^2 - (\Omega^2-\Delta \Omega^2)Q^2) - Q \sum_{i} f_iq_i + \sum_{i}\frac{1}{2} (\dot{q}^2 - ...
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1answer
125 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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0answers
33 views

Translation symmetry and the non-conserved momentum in Viscous fluids

Even though a viscous fluid has a translation symmetry (invariance) for its Lagrangian , it still 'waste' Linear momentum. How come ?, isn't the rule that every symmetry yields a conservation law ?
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1answer
56 views

Lagrangian for a moving spring device

How can I write the proper Lagrangian for such as system as the one shown in picture? Am confused about what is the suitable way to designate the coordinate.
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1answer
81 views

How do I recover the 1D wave equation from the Lagrangian?

Consider small displacements, $y(x,t)$, of an element of a string (circled in red and shown below) from equilibrium. The force balance in the vertical direction yields: $$+\uparrow \Sigma F: ...
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1answer
117 views

Hamiltonian conservation

Lagrangian formalism does not involve forces that doesn't come from a potential and Hamiltonian formalism says that even though energy is not conserved due to a force like this, the Hamiltonian is ...
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3answers
196 views

Does a four-divergence extra term in a Lagrangian density matter to the field equations?

Greiner in his book "Field Quantization" page 173, eq.(7.11) did this calculation: ${\mathcal L}^\prime=-\frac{1}{2}\partial_\mu A_\nu\partial^\mu A^\nu+\frac{1}{2}\partial_\mu A_\nu\partial^\nu ...
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2answers
50 views

Alternative symmetries for the Maxwell Lagrangian?

I'm wondering about how to show that $A_a\rightarrow A_a+\alpha\partial_0A_a$, with $\alpha$ infinitesimal, is an infinitesimal symmetry of $\mathcal L=-\frac14F_{ab}F^{ab}$. \begin{equation} ...
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1answer
779 views

Invariance of Lagrangian in Noether's theorem

Often in textbooks Noether's theorem is stated with the assumption that the Lagrangian needs to be invariant $\delta L=0$. However, given a lagrangian $L$, we know that the Lagrangians $\alpha L$ ...
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1answer
81 views

Lagrangian to Hamiltonian

I'm having some problems with an assignment where I have to state the Hamiltonian from the kinetic energy $T$ and potential energy $U$. These are as follows: ...
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1answer
66 views

Atwood machine with spring

I'm just beginning to learn about Lagrangian mechanics, and I am asked to find the kinetic energy of this Atwood machine (See figure). I am told, that the kinetic energy should be: ...
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1answer
123 views

Are the Hamiltonian and Lagrangian always convex functions?

The Hamiltonian and Lagrangian are related by a Legendre transform: $$ H(\mathbf{q}, \mathbf{p}, t) = \sum_i \dot q_i p_i - \mathcal{L}(\mathbf{q}, \mathbf{\dot q}, t). $$ For this to be a Legendre ...
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0answers
133 views

Lagrange's Equations for a Tetherball

I'm trying to write down the equations of motion for a tetherball moving around a pole while the string is getting shorter. --- MAJOR EDIT --- I started with Lagrange: $$ x(t)=l(t) \sin (\theta) ...
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2answers
134 views

How can I tell that circular motion is a solution for a particle confined to the surface of a cone?

I'm working on a problem where a particle of mass $m$ is confined to the surface of an inverted half cone (and is circling downwards due to gravity), with the cone's half angle $\alpha$. I chose to ...
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0answers
53 views

Why friction force is force of constraint?

My understanding about constraint force is that it is a force which limits the geometry of particle's motion. For example, situations such as the particle trapped in a track or limited in domain can ...
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1answer
96 views

Lagrangian approach to spinning thread reel

I am trying to better understand Lagrangian dynamics and am struggling to complete the following question: A reel of thread of mass $m$ and radius $r$ is allowed to unwind under gravity, the upper ...
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2answers
62 views

How does isotropy of free space imply $L(v^2)$ for a free particle? [duplicate]

From Mechanics; Landau and Lifshitz, it's stated on page 5: Since space is isotropic, the Lagrangian must also be indpendent of the direction of $ \mathbf{v}$, and is therfore a function only of ...
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1answer
91 views

Lie algebra of axial charges

Starting from the lagrangian (linear sigma model without symmetry breaking, here $N$ is the nucleon doublet and $\tau_a$ are pauli matrices) $L=\bar Ni\gamma^\mu \partial_\mu N+ \frac{1}{2} ...
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1answer
149 views

Is Lagrangian a scalar?

I may be wrong: Lagrangian are scalars. They are NOT invariant under coordinate transformations. The simplest example is when you have a gravitational potential ($V=mgz$) and you translate $z$ by $a$ ...
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1answer
58 views

Energy-momentum tensor for dust

We all know that the energy-momentum tensor for dust is just $T^{\alpha\beta}=\rho_0v^\alpha v^\beta,$ where $\rho_0$ is the mass density in the dust's rest frame and $v^α$ is the dust's ...
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1answer
56 views

How to obtain Maxwell's Lagrangian from complex scalar fields?

I've looked in several books and they all show how to obtain electrical interactions by forcing local gauge invariance of any complex scalar field Lagrangian (like Klein-Gordon or Dirac). I manage to ...
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1answer
37 views

The exact definition of conjugate momentum density

After checking various websites, I've seen the conjugate momentum density defined as either: \begin{align*} P_r ~=~ \frac{\partial \mathcal{L}}{\partial \dot{A}_r} \end{align*} or \begin{align*} P_r ...
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1answer
67 views

$\cos^{2}(\phi)$ in the kinetic energy term of the Lagrangian is one?

I'm doing some homework in Classical Mechanics, and is about to write out the Lagrangian of a system. But, when I check the answer from my teacher, something is missing. The kinetic energy I'm using ...
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1answer
96 views

Intuition for actions written as integrals over spacetime

Right now I'm simply looking for an intuitive explaination of actions that integrate over a 4-volume element, $d^4x$ rather than a parameter say $\lambda$. More specifically I'm well versed in action ...