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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Finding Lagrangian with Non-holonomic constraints

I am stuck working on a problem that involves finding the Lagrangian for a free particle constrained to move on the surface of a disk of radius $a$. The particle collides elastically with the edge of ...
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31 views

Finding conserved quantities from Hamiltonian when Symmetry is not evident [on hold]

A particle is moving in 3D space, under a potential $$V = -\frac{\alpha}{r}-\frac{\vec{r} \cdot \vec{\mu}}{r^3 } $$ where $\vec{\mu}$ is some constant vector. I need to show there are three ...
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1answer
100 views

Classical action of the simple harmonic oscillator

I have been calculating the classical action of the harmonic oscillator, the problem I have is that I am only able to solve it if I set the integration limits of the action integral to be $t=T$ and ...
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0answers
29 views

Relation between $f(R)$ gravity and Tensor–vector–scalar (TeVeS) gravity

We know that there is a relation between f(R) gravity and scalar-tensor gravity. By applying the Legendre-Weyl transform, we can receive brans-dicke gravity from $f(R)$ gravity. If we start with the ...
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1answer
98 views

How can we derive the gauge field Lagrangian?

I learned the gauge field Lagrangian is given in this form: $$\mathcal{L} = -\frac{1}{4} \mathrm{Tr}(F_{\mu \nu}F^{\mu \nu}).$$ But how one can derive this equation starting from defining the ...
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2answers
350 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 ...
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1answer
70 views

Lagrangian and Hamiltonian EOM with dissipative force

I am trying to write the Lagrangian and Hamiltonian for the forced Harmonic oscillator before quantizing it to get to the quantum picture. For EOM $$m\ddot{q}+\beta\dot{q}+kq=f(t),$$ I write the ...
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0answers
31 views

Calculating the moment of inertia in bifilar pendulums

I'm an A2 student, and I've been looking into how experimental and theoretical determined mass moments of inertia differ. I came across a method (search Youtube for Measuring Mass Moment of Inertia - ...
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2answers
71 views

Why the extra term $\frac{1}{2}(\partial_{\rho}A^{\rho})^2$ in the photon Lagrangian?

In my quantum field theory class we have been told to use this Lagrangian for the photon field $$\mathcal{L}=-\frac{1}{4}F_{\alpha\beta}F^{\alpha\beta} -\frac{1}{2}(\partial_{\rho}A^{\rho})^2.$$ but ...
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48 views

Derivation of correction to canonical stress energy tensor due to addition of total divergence to Lagrangian

It is mentioned in almost every text book that equations of motions are not modified if we add a total divergence of some vector $$\partial_\mu \ X^{\mu}$$ to Lagrangian but canonical stress energy ...
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1answer
98 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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2answers
60 views

Problem in Euler-Lagrange imply Newton

I'm self-studying Mechanics and I have a little problem: We can see that in Landau's book or in Wikipedia that when we inject the lagrangian in Euler Lagrange equation the term $\frac{\partial ...
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2answers
913 views

Why are generalized positions and generalized velocities considered as independent of each other?

I'm confused how $$\dot{\mathbf{r}}_{j}=\sum_{k}\frac{\partial\mathbf{r}_{j}}{\partial q_{k}}\dot{q}_k+\frac{\partial\mathbf{r}_{j}}{\partial t}$$ leads to the relation, ...
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1answer
51 views

Higher-order gauge coupling terms in the Lagrangian

In QFT, one works with Lagrangians that are invariant with respect to a certain symmetry. Out of this invariance, one is able to write down interaction terms at first order in the gauge couplings. The ...
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1answer
70 views

Total derivative in action of the field theory

Consider a classical field theory. When applying the least action I see that a term is considered total derivative. We say that $$\int \partial_\mu (\frac {\partial L}{\partial(\partial_\mu ...
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3answers
873 views

What exactly is a virtual displacement in classical mechanics?

I'm reading Goldstein's Classical Mechanics and he says the following: A virtual (infinitesimal) displacement of a system refers to a change in the configuration of the system as the result of any ...
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1answer
177 views

Geodesic equation from Euler - Lagrange

There are several ways to derive the geodesic equation. One of which is the variational method which I seemed to understand it because it was written in great details. Then it was mentioned that the ...
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26 views

Classical mechanics textbook recommendation [duplicate]

I've just finished my first year of physics study and I'd like to learn some more classical mechanics. What textbook would you recommend as an introduction to Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics? ...
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53 views

That the gravitational mass equals to inertial mass can imply that only Einstein-Hilbert action is satisfied

I read Spacetime and Geometry by Sean Carroll. In p. 166 there is a comment that GR's action is nonlinear because if it is linear like the EM field, then graviton will not interact with each other, ...
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1answer
83 views

Euler-Lagrange equations of a current-loop pendulum in a magnetic field

I am reading "Nonlinear Electromechanics", by Dmitry Skubov and Kamil S. Khodzhaev, Springer 2008. Here is the relevant and freely available chapter. Essentially, a loop of area $S$, mass $m$, moment ...
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0answers
32 views

Polarization sum rule for Rarita-Schwinger field

There are Rarita-Schwinger equations: $$ \tag 1 (p\!\!\!/ - m)\psi_{\mu} = 0, \quad \gamma_{\mu}\psi^{\mu} = 0, \quad i\partial_{\mu}\psi^{\mu} = 0. $$ So the polarization sum $D_{\mu \nu}(p) = ...
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1answer
159 views

Invariance of action $\Rightarrow$ covariance of field equations?

Invariance of action $\Rightarrow$ covariance of field equations? Is this statement true? I have only seen examples of this, like the invariance of Electromagnetic action under Lorentz ...
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1answer
128 views

Pressure and Density Using a General Lagrangian

Given a lagrangian of a form: \begin{equation}\mathcal{L}=f(\phi,\partial_{\mu}\phi\partial^{\mu}\phi)\end{equation} where $f$ is a function, I need to derive pressure and density in a FLRW universe ...
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5answers
3k views

What is canonical momentum?

What does the canonical momentum $\textbf{p}=m\textbf{v}+e\textbf{A}$ mean? Is it just momentum accounting for electromagnetic effects?
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0answers
31 views

Interchanging of variation and integration operator for holonomic systems

Meirovitch says in his "Principles and Techniques of Vibrations" (1997) on p.85: In the case of holonomic systems, the variation and integration processes are interchangeable (...) which means ...
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0answers
61 views

Problems while doing $\dfrac{\partial}{\partial(\partial_\mu \phi)}$ and $\dfrac{\partial}{\partial(\partial_\mu A_\mu)}$

In David Tong's lectures, he gives two Lagrangians as examples to derive the equations of motion: $$\mathcal{L} = \dfrac{1}{2}\eta^{\mu\nu}\,\partial_\mu\phi\,\partial_\nu \phi-\dfrac{1}{2}m^2\phi^2, ...
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1answer
67 views

Yukawa potential, which is correct?

Sometimes I see Yukawa interaction term written as $$-g\bar{\psi} i \gamma^5 \phi \psi$$ and other times as $$-g \bar{ \psi} \gamma_5 \psi \phi $$ Which is the correct form?
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0answers
91 views

Building free energy directly from lagrangian

Energy can be built from lagrangian when considering the symmetry of time $(\frac{\partial L}{\partial t}=0)$. Free energy is a generalization of energy when the system exchanges heat with the ...
2
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1answer
58 views

Total vs partial time derivative of action

I'm following Ref. 1 in my reasoning, struggling with action as a function of time. Consider a Lagrangian $$L=\dot x^2-x^2.\tag1$$ Solving the corresponding equations of motion with initial ...
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6answers
3k 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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1answer
32 views

Introduction of the vector potential $A_{\mu}$ for the local gauge invariance of the complex scalar field lagrangian [duplicate]

In Ryder, when trying to restore the local $U(1)$ gauge symmetry of the complex scalar field $\phi=\phi_1+i\phi_2$, the final Lagrangian consists of the following four parts: ...
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1answer
102 views

How to know if the pseudoscalar Yukawa Lagrangian is invariant under chiral transformation?

The pseudo-scalar Yukawa theory Lagrangian is $$\mathcal{L}=\bar{\psi}(i\gamma ^\mu \partial_\mu - m)\psi -g\bar{\psi}i\gamma^5\phi\psi,$$ where $g$ is a coupling constant. How can I show it is ...
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3answers
393 views

Motivation for Potentials

This is a hypothetical question about "pedagogy". Let's say I am trying to take someone who has just a very small amount of knowledge about Newtonian mechanics and convince them that the Lagrangian ...
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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 ...
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0answers
46 views

Shouldn't we use a Hamiltonian that doesn't give special treatment to time? [duplicate]

If we have a Lagrangian $\mathcal L$ that depends on some scalar field $\phi$, we define the momentum as $\pi \doteqdot {\partial \mathcal L \over \partial \dot \phi}$. The Hamiltonian then is ...
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1answer
92 views

Can action be unbounded from below?

While solving the problem in this question, I found cases where the numerical optimization failed, suspecting unboundedness of the function being minimized. The function approximates the action of the ...
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2answers
141 views

When is the principle of stationary action not the principle of least action?

I've only had a very brief introduction to Lagrangian mechanics. In a physics course I took last year, we briefly covered the principle of stationary action --- we looked at it, derived some equations ...
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3answers
493 views

Type of stationary point in Hamilton's principle

In this question it is discussed why by Hamilton's principle the action integral must be stationary. Most examples deal with the case that the action integral is minimal: this makes sense - we all ...
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3answers
343 views

Confusion regarding the principle of least action in Landau's “The Classical Theory of Fields”

Edit: The previous title didn't really ask the same thing as the question (sorry about that), so I've changed it. To clarify, I understand that the action isn't always a minimum. My questions are in ...
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1answer
81 views

How to use Euler-Lagrange when Lagrangian is $L=\sqrt{t}\sqrt{1+(dy/dt)^2}$

In this Lagrangian problem, action is $$S = \int_{t_1}^{t_2} \sqrt{t}\sqrt{1+\dot{y}^2} \,\,dt$$ where $\dot{y} = dy/dt$ and $t_1$ and $t_2$ are some fixed points. I tried to solve this problem using ...
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2answers
67 views

How to show that $\partial S/\partial q=p$ without variation of $S$?

I'm trying to get some understanding in treating action $S$ as a function of coordinates. Landau and Lifshitz consider $\delta S$, getting $\delta S=p\delta q$, thus concluding that $$\frac{\partial ...
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1answer
43 views

Determine path of point mass using the Hamilton's principle

I am very new in this field but I try to solve a problem by using the Hamilton's principle and afterwards I want to compare the solution by solving the same problem using conservation laws. What I ...
5
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1answer
70 views

Least action principle — numerical simulation strangeness

I'm trying to get some experience with the least action principle, and for this I chose a simple 1-dimensional problem of a particle moving in some field. The least action principle would then look ...
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1answer
32 views

Lagrangian of Non-Relativistic Charged Particle in a Magnetic Field

I'm trying to derive the Lagrangian for a non-relativistic charged particle under the influence of a magnetic potential. I'm assuming that $F=-grad(V)$ and so by the Lorentz force we have $-grad(V)=q ...
2
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1answer
202 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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1answer
258 views

Difference in “momentum” names in Lagrangian mechanics

In the context of Lagrangian formulation of classical mechanics, the following names keep occurring in most textbooks, which confuse me a lot, are they different in any way? Momentum Generalized ...
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1answer
230 views

Why should it be allowed to set the einbein to unity?

The Polyakov action for a massive free point particle with worldline $\gamma$ is given by $$ S[\gamma] = \frac{1}{2}\int_\gamma e \biggl(\frac{1}{e^2}\dot{x}^2 - m^2\biggr)\mathrm{d}\tau $$ where ...
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1answer
89 views

Rigorous version of field Lagrangian

In Classical Mechanics the configuration of a system can be characterized by some point $s\in \mathbb{R}^n$ for some $n$. In particular, if it's a system of $k$ particles then $n = 3k$ and if there ...
3
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2answers
71 views

Why do the $1/2$ factor appear in the Majorana mass Lagrangian?

In case of Dirac neutrino there is no $1/2$ factor in the mass Lagrangian but for Majorana type neutrino there is a half factor in the mass Lagrangian.
5
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1answer
236 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 ...