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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Conditions for hyperregularity

(Definitions from Marsden & Ratiu, ``Introduction to Mechanics and Symmetry''): A Lagrangian is regular if the Hessian $\partial^2 L/(\partial \dot{q}^i \partial \dot{q}^j)$ is weakly non ...
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1answer
66 views

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. ...
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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?
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Lagrangian for FRW metric

For the metric $$ds^2=-dt^2+a^2(t)(dx^2+dy^2+dz^2),$$ $$L= \sqrt{-g_{\alpha\beta}\frac{dx^\alpha}{dt}\frac{dx^\beta}{dt}}$$ How does this become $$L= \sqrt{1-a^2 (\frac{dx}{dt})^2}~? $$ I guess ...
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1answer
36 views

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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104 views

Subtlety in derivation of Noether's theorem by Di Francesco

In the book 'Conformal Field Theory' by Di Francesco et al, a derivation of Noether's theorem is demonstrated by imposing that, what I believe is said to be a more elegant approach, the parameter ...
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1answer
59 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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285 views

Eigenvalues of the Lagrangian?

It is often stated that the Lagrangian formalism and the Hamiltonian formalism are equivalent. We often hear people talk about eigenvalues of Hamiltonians but I have never ever heard a word about ...
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65 views

Lagrangian description of Brownian motion?

I'm interested in the existence of a Lagrangian field theory description of Bronwnian motion, does such a thing exist? Given a particle of some spin $\sigma$, which has a Lagrangian associated with ...
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1answer
60 views

Interacting Lagrangian - Coupling constant and cutoff factor

I have a general question concerning a given interacting Lagrangian: $$\mathfrak{L}_I = \frac{g}{\Lambda^2} \bar{\chi} \ \gamma^\mu \gamma_5 \ \chi \ \partial^\nu F_{\mu\nu}$$ where $F_{\mu\nu}$ is ...
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1answer
43 views

How can a generalised force be dependent on an angle i.e. not a vector?

I'm currently working through an example question in Patrick Hamill's 'A Student's Guide to Hamiltonians and Lagrangians'. The question I'm having conceptual difficulty with is: A particle is ...
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208 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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41 views

Where can some worked problems in classical mechanics (and more specifically the Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formalisms) be found? [duplicate]

I've been looking for a textbook in classical mechanics that's readily available (like can be found in the library of James Cook University of Townsville, Australia) and full of fully-answered ...
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1answer
59 views

Hookes Law and Objective Stress Rates

Often, in papers presenting updated Lagrangian simulation methods for solid dynamics, the following procedure for updating the (Cauchy) stress tensor is presented: First, the Cauchy stress tensor is ...
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3answers
53 views

In Orbital Mechanics what is the quantity described below called?

I seem to recall that $r^2 \dot{\theta}$ is a conserved quantity in orbital mechanics, which I just proved using the Euler-Lagrange equations. Namely via: $ \mathcal{L} = \frac{m}{2} (\dot{r}^2+r^2 ...
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84 views

Proca Lagrangian manipulation

How can I show that the Lagrangian density $$\mathcal{L} = -\frac{1}{2}\partial_\alpha \varphi_\beta \partial^\alpha \varphi^\beta + \frac{1}{2} \partial_\alpha \varphi^\alpha \partial_\beta ...
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How can we describe the trajectory of an object projected into a viscous fluid?

Can we quantitatively describe the motion of a particle inside a fluid? Let us consider the case when an object (say a sphere, so that stoke's law holds true) is projected into a fluid of viscosity ...
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2answers
109 views

Functional Derivative in the Linear Sigma Model

In the linear sigma model, the Lagrangian is given by $$ \mathcal{L} = \frac{1}{2}\sum_{i=1}^{N} \left(\partial_\mu\phi^i\right)\left(\partial^\mu\phi^i\right) ...
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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 ...
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Naive questions on the classical equations of motion from the Chern-Simons Lagrangian

Consider a Chern-Simons Lagrangian $\mathscr{L}=\mathbf{e}^2-b^2+g\epsilon^{\mu \nu \lambda} a_\mu\partial _\nu a_\lambda$ in 2+1 dimensions, where the 'electromagnetic' fields are $e_i=\partial ...
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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 ...
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1answer
98 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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Another Power Counting/ mass dimension question

Are the mass dimension of the Dirac field different from those of the Klein-Gordon field, or is this just another issue of "cannonical normalization?" For instance if $\mathcal{L}_{KG}=\int ...
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83 views

Gauge Invariance of Yang Mills Lagrangian

I am trying to show the invariance of the following Yang Mills Lagrangian: $$L= -\frac{1}{4} F^a_{\mu \nu} F_a^{\mu\nu} + J_a^\mu A_\mu^a$$ under the following gauge transformation ($\theta$ being a ...
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1answer
65 views

Kinetic energy in Lagrangian formalism

In reading Goldstein's Classical Mechanics (2nd edition) I came across a confusing derivation. Goldstein (Eq. 1-71) derives the total kinetic energy of a system of (classical) particles as: $$ T = ...
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35 views

Kinetic energy of a body rotating on another rotating body

Consider a body which can freely rotate with respect to the inertial frame, and a rotating disk whose axis is fixed in body frame. When applying the lagrangian method (does that make a difference?), ...
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4answers
412 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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137 views

Question about an integration by parts in Feynman's Quantum Mechanics [closed]

I have begun reading Feynman & Hibbs Quantum Mechanics and Path Integrals. Knowing little about variational calculus or Lagrangians I found the following integration by parts opaque. I think if I ...
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Local symmetry and General Relativity

First I want to consider an example of 1D motion. Lagrange equation: $$ \frac{d}{dt} \frac{\partial L}{\partial \dot x} - \frac{\partial L}{\partial x} = 0 $$ If we transform $ L \rightarrow L+a $ ...
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1answer
75 views

Schrödinger evolution for a Klein-Gordon equation

I have a problem with the transition from quantum relativistic wave equations (specifically Klein-Gordon equation) to QFT, since a lot of assumptions seem implicit. For example I have a problem with ...
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30 views

Partial derivatives in Lagrangian formalism [duplicate]

Suppose I have a function $f = xy$. A partial derivative of $f$ with respect to $x$ implies holding $y$ constant: $$ \frac{\partial f}{\partial x} = y $$ Does this mean that in order to evaluate ...
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1answer
115 views

Lagrangian depends on second derivative of field

In case of the gauge-fixed Faddeev-Popov Lagrangian: $$ \mathcal{L}=-\frac{1}{4}F_{\mu\nu}\,^{a}F^{\mu\nu ...
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1answer
59 views

The Einstein-Hilbert Action On-Shell

If one consider the Maxwell action as $$S=-\int \mathrm{d^{4}}x\! \ \frac{1}{4}F_{ab}F^{ab} \,$$ one find the usual Maxwell equation $$\partial_{a}F^{ab}=0$$ Then one can simply arrive the following ...
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1answer
50 views

Landau & Lifshitz - Euler's equation for one-dimensional flow

One page 5 in Landau & Lifshitz Fluid Mechanics (2nd edition), the authors pose the following problem: Write down the equations for one-dimensional motion of an ideal fluid in terms > of the ...
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1answer
74 views

Free Field theory to Interacting Field theory

Free field theory: Why is it said that different Fourier modes in case of a free field (say, real Klein-Gordon field) are independent of each other? Interacting field theory: How exactly does the ...
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Gauge Invariance of the Non-abelian Chern-Simons Term

I'm trying to prove that, under the gauge transformation $$A_{\mu} \rightarrow A_{\mu}^{\prime} = g^{-1} A_{\mu} g + g^{-1} \partial_{\mu} g,$$ the non-abelian Chern-Simons Lagrangian density: ...
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2answers
137 views

QFT's that have no action

What does it mean to have a QFT that can not be encoded by an action. What is by far the most powerful approach of study in such a case. What is the best studied physical theory that falls into this ...
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1answer
77 views

Deriving field equation in Yang Mills theory

Trying to show that $$D_\mu\vec{F^{\mu \nu}} = \partial_{\mu}\vec{F^{\mu \nu}} + g \vec{A_\mu} \times \vec{F^{\mu \nu}} = 4 \pi \vec{J^\nu},$$ or (correct me if I'm wrong) $$ \partial_{\mu} F^{\mu ...
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1answer
58 views

Local versus non-local functionals

I'm new to field theory and I don't understand the difference between a "local" functional and a "non-local" functional. Explanations that I find resort to ambiguous definitions of locality and then ...
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1answer
44 views

Sign of gravitational force

I'm reading Lanczos's The variational principles of mechanics, and on pp. 80-81 there is an example involving a system made up of $n$ rigid bars, freely jointed at their end points, and the two free ...
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1answer
121 views

A Question on Hamilton's Principle

In some literatures, the Hamilton's principle for conservative systems is introduced by this equation: $$\delta \int_{t_1}^{t_2}(T-V) ~\mathrm{d}t~=~0$$ In some others, this principle is introduces ...
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1answer
53 views

Lagrange's equations derivations

While deriving lagrange's equation, for an infinitesimal displacement $\vec{dr}$, we express it using taylor series in terms of general coordinates as $\frac{\vec{dr}}{dq} \delta q$. Where ...
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2answers
219 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
216 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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3answers
82 views

Higher order derivatives - Equation of motion

One possible starting point to create a physical theory is the Lagrangian $L$. There we assume that the variation of the action $\delta S = \delta \int_{-\infty}^\infty dt \ L = 0$. In classical ...
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1answer
73 views

Curvilinear Coordinates and basis vectors

In these notes, $\frac{\partial \vec{r}} {\partial q_i}$ is stated to form a basis set for the vector space. How does this happen? Also, how does one justify this equation from Goldstein's ...
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How can I derive this Hamiltonian?

I have a Lagrangian $L$, a momentum $p$ and a Hamiltonian $H$: $$L=\frac m 2(\dot z + A\omega\cos\omega t)^2 - \frac k 2 z^2$$ $$p=m\dot z + mA\omega\cos\omega t$$ $$H=p\dot z - L=\frac m 2 \dot ...
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1answer
66 views

Canonical Stress Tensor for the Free Electromagnetic Field

I have the followwing Lagrangian for the free electromagnetic field, $$\mathcal{L} = -\frac{1}{4} F^{\mu \nu}F_{\mu \nu},$$ and the canonical stress tensor is, $$T^{\alpha \beta}=\frac{\partial ...
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6answers
3k views

Can Noether's theorem be understood intuitively?

Noether's theorem is one of those surprisingly clear results of mathematical calculations, for which I am inclined to think that some kind of intuitive understanding should or must be possible. ...
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2answers
102 views

Variation of Action with time coordinate variations

I was trying to derive equation (65) in the following review: http://relativity.livingreviews.org/open?pubNo=lrr-2004-4&page=articlesu23.html This slightly unusual then usual classical mechanics ...