any of several principles that find the physical trajectory of a system by minimizing or maximizing some value computed over the proposed path (for instance geometric optics can be reproduced by insisting on a minimum time principle).

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72 views

Derivation of Euler-Lagrange equation from principle of least action

When deriving the Euler-Lagrange equation for a field $\phi$ the term $$ \int\textrm{d}x^{\mu}~\partial_{\mu}\left( \dfrac{\partial \mathcal{L} }{\partial(\partial_{\mu}\phi)}\right)\delta\phi $$ is ...
6
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2answers
917 views

Question about the apparent loophole in principle of least action

In Lagrangian formalism, given two points $(x_1,t_1)$ and $(x_2,t_2)$, we ask the question which paths $x(t)$ make the action $S=\displaystyle \int_{t_1}^{t_2}L\ \mathrm dt$ stationary and satisfy the ...
3
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0answers
47 views
+150

Lower limit for atomic number in case of imaginary ion with $Z < 1$

In my programming project I calculate the minimal energy of an atom with 2 electrons in the $L=0, S=0$ state, using a Hylleraas wave function. The values I find for $Z=2$ (He) and $Z=1$ (H$^-$) are ...
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0answers
52 views

Physical motivation for Lagrangian formalism

This is more of a request for clarification of understanding and intuition rather than a question, but I hope people can help me with it. I have learned calculus of variations and have subsequently ...
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2answers
90 views

Higher than Lagrangian/action?

When you begin learning physics, you start with equations of motion applied to various physics systems. In classical mechanics course you learn, that exists Lagrangian/action of a system, which gives ...
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52 views

Simple real life applications of Euler-Lagrange equations of motion

If you read some introductory mechanics text like David Morin's Introduction to Classical Mechanics about Euler Lagrange Equations you get a large amount of simple examples like the "moving plane" ...
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26 views

Must there exist a Lagrangian for any 2nd order ordinary derivative equation?

We know if there exist a Lagrangian of some ODE, then it must exist many equivalent Lagrangian. My question: Then must there exist a Lagrangian for any 2nd order ODE? If not, do we have some ...
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0answers
32 views

Is energy always a diminishing quantity in imaginary time?

If we write Schrodinger equation in imaginary time $\tau = it$, then one can easily show that the energy $E(\tau) = \langle \psi(\tau)| \hat{H} |\psi(\tau)\rangle$ is a diminishing quantity, i.e. ...
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1answer
105 views

Is there an action for every physical law?

Given an action, I can get the differential equation governing the evolution of the system by applying the principle of least action. Does it work the other way around? Given any differential ...
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1answer
38 views

Understanding Derivation of Euler-Lagrange

I am trying to understand the derivation of the Euler-Lagrange equation. I drew a graph below. So, according to the graph, $$ \int_{t_1}^{t_2} L(x+\delta{x},\dot{x}+\delta\dot{x}\,t) dt - ...
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1answer
76 views

Why can you make $V$ stationary with respect to a parameter of the field in Derrick's theorem?

I'm going over Coleman's derivation of Derrick's theorem for real scalar fields in the chapter Classical lumps and their quantum descendants from Aspects of Symmetry (page 194). Theorem: Let ...
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0answers
48 views

An interesting problem on potentials [closed]

I am thinking of an interesting problem on potentials. Consider a potential field $U(\mathbf R)$. Furthermore, consider a rocket with exhaust speed from 0 to $v$. I am wondering whether there is a way ...
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1answer
46 views

Principle of Stationary Action and Euler-Lagrange Equation

Principle of Stationary Action: Given a mechanical system, there exists an action $S$ such that it is extremitized, or $\delta S=0$, for the actual motion of the system. $$S = ...
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0answers
29 views

How to calculate Lagrangian density function in classical field theory

In Lagrangian mechanics observing the possible degrees of freedom we first write down our Lagrangian. Then we use E-L equation to determine equation of motion and using sufficient boundary condition ...
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0answers
19 views

Max & inflection point in the principle of least action [duplicate]

Short question: What is the physics interpretation of max & inflection points in the principle of least action? Long question: If $$L(q_1,q_2;t)=K-V$$ then let $$S = \int^{t_1}_{t_2} ...
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1answer
75 views

Polyakov From Nambu-Goto Directly, for Strings?

The following derivation, for a classical relativistic point particle, of the 'Polyakov' form of the action from the 'Nambu-Goto' form of the action, without any tricks - no equations of motion or ...
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1answer
38 views

Simplify calculation of geodesics from action principle

I don't understand a step with the calculation of geodesics equations from action principle on this link : demo geodesics equations My issue is the following step : $$\int ...
3
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2answers
113 views

Finding geodesics: Lagrangian vs Hamiltonian

I have a question referring to how to compute geodesics of a given spacetime (say, Kerr). I know that the direct way is via the geodesic equation ...
0
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1answer
141 views

“Principle of least action” and “Principle of conservation of energy”: Which one is fundamental and which one is derived? [closed]

Suppose I throw a ball upwards. First it will rise under gravity and then fall under gravity. During the rising part the kinetic energy gradually decreases and the potential energy increases until ...
2
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1answer
93 views

Geometric derivation of quantum mechanics from Lagrangian mechanics

I have used classical Lagrangian mechanics for quite a while, and what I like about it is that everything can be derived from a very small number of geometric principles. There are just three things ...
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1answer
56 views

How do I derive geodesic equation using variational principle? [duplicate]

I am trying to derive the geodesic equation using variational principle. My Lagrangian is $$ L = \sqrt{g_{jk}(x(t)) \frac{dx^j}{dt} \frac{dx^k}{dt}}$$ Using the Euler-Lagrange equation, I have got ...
3
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2answers
64 views

shape formed by a stiff string with ends pinched together [closed]

Suppose I have a string of length $L$ with a bending energy given by $$E=\frac{1}{2}\epsilon \int_0^L ds\, (\mathbf{R}''(s))^2 $$ Let's say I form a bight with it by pinching the ends together, ...
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1answer
57 views

Action with self-dual field strength

It is said that writing down an action in presence of a self-dual field strength is subtle and not known till date. The familiar example people give is that of type IIB super-gravity which has a ...
2
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1answer
64 views

Equivalence between principle of least action and minimum potential energy

Are the principle of least action and the principle of minimum potential energy equivalent? How does one show that? Also, are Newton's laws of motion equivalent to the principle of least action? How ...
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0answers
45 views

Principle of Most Action? [duplicate]

In Landau-Lifshitz - Vol 1. Mechanics, right after the introduction of the principle of leas action, there is the following comment: It should be mentioned that this formulation ($S = ...
2
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1answer
71 views

Conceptual problem with action considered as function of endpoints

I am having some trouble with understanding why it makes sense to consider action in classical mechanics as function of endpoints $q_{initial}, \ q_{final}$ and endtimes $t_{initial}, \ t_{final}$. ...
3
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42 views

“Simple” Variation of the gravity action with boundary

I'm concerned with the derivation of the quasi-local stress tensor (getting from eqn 2.4 to eqn 2.6 in this paper: http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/0508218). As is the case with all the references I have ...
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0answers
110 views

Canonical second quantization vs canonical quantization with multisymplectic form in AQFT

First of all, I'm a mathematician that knows less than the basics of QFT, so forgive me if this question is trivial. Please, keep in my mind that my background in physics is very poor. 1) The usual ...
3
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2answers
111 views

Principle of least action: $\frac{d S_{cl}}{dt_b} = \frac{\partial S_{cl}}{\partial t_b} + \frac{\partial S_{cl}}{\partial x_b}\dot{x}_b$

Question I cannot see how I can obtain the yellow highlighted section on the RHS from that of the LHS. The following equation can be found in both my lecture notes(*1) (page 9, equation 2.7) and is ...
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0answers
46 views

Confusion with Fermat’s principle of least time [closed]

Here is an illustration used in my book to prove format’s principle of least time. My book says that ACB will be the shortest path. It is obvious that light reaches E first, and then X. If the ...
3
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1answer
76 views

To derive the relation between work function and potential energy

I'm reading "The variational principles of mechanics- Lanczos", The author mentions a relation between Work-Function $U(q_1,q_2,\cdots,q_n,\dot q_1,\dot q_2,\cdots,\dot q_n)$ and the potential ...
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2answers
80 views

Are the generalized coordinates in Lagrangian mechanics really independent?

In Goldstein's Classical Mechanics, Chapter 2.3: Derivation of Lagrange's Equations From Hamilton's Principle part of the derivation involves each of the generalized coordinates being independent. $$ ...
3
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1answer
80 views

Variational proof of the Hellmann-Feynman theorem

I use the following notation and definition for the (first) variation of some functional $E[\psi]$: \begin{equation} \delta E[\psi][\delta\psi] := \lim_{\varepsilon \rightarrow 0} \frac{E[\psi + ...
5
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1answer
154 views

Is there a Maupertuis principle for General Relativity?

The motion of a point particle in classical mechanics is given by Newton's equation, $\mathbf{F}=m\mathbf{a}$. Suppose all forces considered are conservative and we have a constant total energy $h$. ...
2
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1answer
44 views

Why is the potential independent of the generalized velocity?

In Goldstein, Classical Mechanics, Chap. 1.4 we derive Lagrange's equations from D'Alembert's Principle. My question is regarding the last part of the derivation, specifically the part where he ...
0
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1answer
85 views

How to proceed (Tough Problem) [closed]

The problem that I am considering is to find the shortest path (or geodesic) on a surface with the equation $z=f(x,y)$. The path is parameterized by $s$ so that the path goes from ...
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1answer
54 views

How to derive the true spatial paths (orbits) from the Jacobi-Maupertuis condition

How can differential equations describing a physical object's true spatial paths (orbits) be derived from the time-independent Jacobi-Maupertuis principle of least action? According to this, it is ...
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2answers
85 views

Principle of least action and greedy algorithm

Is the principle of least action sort of a greedy algorithm that all mechanical systems follow?, sometimes to minimise and sometimes to maximise the quantity we call action, at each individual step.
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0answers
63 views

Is it better to use Lagrangian mechanics for all cases? [duplicate]

I am in high school and I need to solve lots of problems which involve spring-block systems, pendulums, damped oscillations and so on. I am learning Lagrangian mechanics and I am already quite ...
1
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1answer
64 views

Classical mechanics principle of least action

I don't understand here what does the book mean by expanding in terms of $\delta{q}$ and $\delta{\dot{q}}$ can someone explain that part.
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0answers
49 views

Derivative condition in the Brachistochrone problem

I know that in general, to find the minimum of some line integral with given end points I need to solve E-L equations. what disturbs me is that I have seen in my class the famous Brachistochrone ...
3
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0answers
50 views

How does GR determine the topology of spacetime? [duplicate]

The crux of GR is the action $$ S=\int _\mathcal M d^n x \sqrt{|g|}\,R $$ Varying this and setting $\delta S=0$ gives you the Einstein field equations. However, that only determines the metric, not ...
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0answers
34 views

Equation of string as hamiltonian field equations

I am using Hamiltonian field theory for the first time and I struggle with some final steps. The task is to derive the equation of vibrating string using Hamilton's field equations. Here is what I ...
4
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1answer
74 views

Energy in dynamical variational principle

In quantum mechanics we use variational principle in order to find approximate expression for the ground state. Lets assume our probe wavefunction $|\Psi\rangle$ can be expanded in orthonormal basis ...
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0answers
36 views

Gibbons-Hawking Variation

I know there already exist some questions about this and some very good answers. However, I am still having trouble understanding one part of the calculation. The GHY term is given by ...
2
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5answers
228 views

Is boundary well defined if variation of metric don't vanish on the boundary?

Suppose that you want to calculate the variation $\delta S$ of an action induced by some arbitrary variation $\delta g_{\mu \nu}$ of the spacetime metric : \begin{equation} S = \int_{\Omega} ...
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0answers
35 views

Origin of Hamilton's variational principle [duplicate]

My question is what is the theoretical origin of Hamilton's principle. I mean is there any rigorous mathematical proof of this principle from some more basic principles?
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4answers
226 views

What are the boundary conditions associated to this lagrangian?

Suppose that $L(q^i, \dot{q}^i)$ is a standard and well behaved lagrangian associated to some Dirichlet boundary conditions : $q^i(t_1) = q_1^i$ and $q^i(t_2) = q_2^i$. Now I have this new lagrangian ...
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1answer
120 views

Boundary conditions of fields from the stationary action principle

First principle of stationary action Consider a real Klein-Gordon scalar field $\phi$ living in a $D$ dimensional flat spacetime. The field is considered off shell (the on shell condition is defined ...
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0answers
44 views

Cyclicity of trace with fermionic arguments

I think this is a non-question, but it has me considerably worried. Consider the piece of a Lagrangian density given by, $$\mathcal{L} = ...