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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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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25 views

Equations of motion with replacing the Lagrangian by irrep diagrams generating functional

I have read that equations of motion of ghosts is equal to $$ \tag 1 \frac{\delta \Gamma}{\delta \bar{c}^{a}(x)} = -\partial^{\mu}_{x}\frac{\delta \Gamma}{\delta K^{\mu , a}(x)}, $$ where $\Gamma = W ...
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2answers
75 views

What is the “associated scalar equation” of equations of motion?

In an essay I am reading on celestial mechanics the equations of motion for a 2 body problem is given as: $$\mathbf{r}''=\nabla(\frac{\mu}{r})=-\frac{\mu \mathbf{r}}{r^3}$$ Fine. Then it says the ...
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4answers
2k 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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1answer
49 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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36 views

Intuition behind the principle of virtual work

To derive Lagrange's Equations we need the principle of virtual work first. This principle states that whenever a system of $K$ particles is constrained to a submanifold $\mathcal{M}\subset ...
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1answer
48 views

Coefficient matrix of quadratic Lagrangian

I've been studying path integrals from Weinbergs QToF vol 1. He says that when the $\mathcal{L_0}$ is quadratic in fields we can always write free term $I_0$ in the generalized quadratic form ...
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1answer
82 views

Proof that total derivative is the only function that can be added to Lagrangian without changing the eom

So I was reading this: Invariance of Lagrange on addition of total time derivative of a function of coordiantes and time and while the answers for the first question are good, nobody gave much ...
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2answers
49 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.
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4answers
366 views

Are Lagrangians and Hamiltonians used by Engineers?

Analytical Mechanics (Lagrangian and Hamiltonian) are useful in Physics (e.g. in Quantum Mechanics) but are they also used in application, by engineers? For example, are they used in designing bridges ...
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35 views

How to prove that generalized coordinates are independent?

I know that the generalized coordinates obtained after taking into account the constraint forces are independent. How can I prove this?
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1answer
143 views

Why are D'Alembert's Principle and the Principle of Least Action Related?

Why do we get the same differential equations from both principles? Surely there is a fundamental connection between them? When written out, the two seem to have nothing in common. $$\sum _i ( ...
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1answer
45 views

How can I derive the Hamiltonian of simple harmonic oscillator from this Lagrangian?

I'm working through Leonard Susskind's Theoretical Minimum: Classical Mechanics and I can't seem to understand how the Hamiltonian of a simple harmonic oscillator is derived from the following ...
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0answers
22 views

Equations of motion for controlled/driven classical systems? Does D'Alembert's principle apply?

I'm puzzled about how to derive the equations of motion for certain classical systems where some entity is controlling some of the DOFs. For example, consider a double-pendulum, with lengths $l_1$ ...
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1answer
216 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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5answers
301 views

Why can't we obtain a Hamiltonian by substituting?

This question may sound a bit dumb. Why can't we obtain the Hamiltonian of a system simply by finding $\dot{q}$ in terms of $p$ and then evaluating the Lagrangian with $\dot{q} = \dot{q}(p)$? Wouldn't ...
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1answer
70 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
137 views

Questions about the degree of freedom in General Relatity

I'm confused about the number of degrees of freedom in General Relatity. There are two ways to count it. However, they are contradictory. For simplicity, we consider vacuum solution. First, ...
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1answer
109 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
66 views

Finding equilibrium of mechanical system

A system is described as follows: Consider a system consisting of two rotating bars of length $l$ and with uniform mass density and each with total mass $m$. The bars are attached to a common ...
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4answers
513 views

D'Alembert's Principle: Necesssity of virtual displacements

Why is the D'Alembert's Principle $$\sum_{i} ( {F}_{i} - m_i \bf{a}_i )\cdot \delta \bf r_i = 0$$ stated in terms of "virtual" displacements instead of actual displacements? Why is it so necessary ...
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2answers
104 views

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
43 views

Effective field theory for fermion gas

Reading about fermion gas in a paper they used the following Lagrangian, which describes an effective field theory for nonrelativistic fermions (I neglect the four point interaction term). $$ L = ...
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2answers
85 views

Non-local structure of field theory

Can someone explain what is non-local structure of field theory? I know you cannot have $\phi(x) \phi(y)$ term in Lagrangian which indicates the non-locality. However, why I cannot have the non-local ...
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1answer
105 views

“A Crash Course in Lagrangian Dynamics”. Is it still available online?

In an Amazon review of "Schaum's Outline of Lagrangian Dynamics" I found this: I recommend that you type "Lagrangian Dynamics" into Google and look at some of the excellent sets of lecture notes ...
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1answer
96 views

Lagrangian and grassmann numbers

Why sometimes we remember that "classical" lagrangians of fermions are constructed from grassmann numbers, while sometimes don't? For example, for Majorana's field in terms of 2-component spinors ...
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1answer
35 views

Deriving conserved currents by promoting parameter

I currently reading Tong's text on String Theory. In Chapter 4.1.1 he alludes to a technique to derive conserved currents Recall that we can usually derive conserved currents by promoting the ...
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3answers
404 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
271 views

Virtual displacement and generalized coordinates

I have a doubt regarding the expression of a virtual displacement using generalized coordinates. I will state the definitions I'm taking and the problem. The system is composed by $n$ points with ...
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1answer
95 views

Mass term in the Lagrangian

I have read that the mass term appearing in the electroweak Lagrangian stops it (the Lagrangian) from becoming gauge invariance. Can someone explain where and why this term is creating the problem?
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4answers
4k views

The meaning of action

The action $$S=\int L \;\mathrm{d}t$$ is an important physical quantity. But can it be understood more intuitively? The Hamiltonian corresponds to the energy, whereas the action has dimension of ...
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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 ...
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0answers
58 views

Parity invariance of Einstein-Hilbert Lagrangian

How can we show that the Einstein-Hilbert action is Parity invariant? $$ S_{EH}=\int \sqrt{-g}R d^4x $$
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0answers
34 views

Does the order of variables matter for a quantum Lagrangian in the path integral formula for quantum mechanics? [duplicate]

For a single particle or field, I can't see how the path-integral formulation depends on the order of terms in the Lagrangian. It seems that you integrate the classical Lagrangian to get the action on ...
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2answers
101 views

Pendulum with changing length over time. What's wrong?

I tried to find the equation of this pendulum, but I think I did something wrong. I know I have to get the Bessel's equation but I can't see it. It's a simple 2-D pendulum, without any dissipation. ...
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0answers
52 views

Constructing conserved current given the lagrangian

Consider the following Lagrangian for a massive vector field $A_{\mu}$ in Euclidean space time: $$\mathcal L = \frac{1}{4} F^{\alpha \beta}F_{\alpha \beta} + \frac{1}{2}m^2 A^{\alpha}A_{\alpha}$$ ...
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2answers
140 views

Naive questions on the concept of effective Lagrangian and equations of motion?

Let us consider a LC circuit containing an electric dipole moment, the quantum system (electric field $E$ coupled with a dipole moment) can be described by the path integral $$Z=\int DEDxe^{i\int ...
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59 views

Lagrangian Systems

Given a manifold $M$, Arnold's "Mathematical Methods of Classical Mechanics" defines a Lagrangian system as a pair $(M,L)$ where $L$ is some smooth function on the tangent bundle $TM$. The function ...
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62 views

Is the “Force” of Gravity Simply Hamilton's Principle on a Curved Spacetime?

It's my understanding that General Relativity abstracts away the concept of gravity as a force, and instead describes it as a feature of spacetime by which massive objects cause curvature. Then it ...
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27 views

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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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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49 views

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
113 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
64 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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3answers
294 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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1answer
74 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
65 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
46 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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1answer
49 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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3answers
54 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 ...