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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0
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1answer
42 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
votes
2answers
58 views

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

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, ...
0
votes
1answer
162 views

second variation of the action for 1-d lagrangian

i know that the first variation of the action integral yields to the euler lagrange equation by setting $ \delta S [y(x)]=0 $ however given a Lagrangian in the form $$ \frac{1}{2}mv^ {2}-V(x)$$ how ...
4
votes
1answer
276 views

Equations of motion of displacement field

We have an action: $$S[\boldsymbol{u}] = \frac{1}{2} \int dt \int d^3x \left\{ \mu (\frac{\partial u_{i}}{\partial t})^{2} - \nu (u_{ii})^{2} - \rho(u_{ij})^{2}\right\} $$ Where $u_{ij} = ...
2
votes
1answer
43 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 ...
42
votes
6answers
4k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
421 views

Time-dependent Schrodinger equation from variational principle

In the paper, "Density-functional theory for time-dependent systems" Physical Review Letters 52 (12): 997 the authors mentioned that the action $$ A= \int_{t_0}^{t_1} dt \langle \Phi(t) | i ...
3
votes
1answer
408 views

Least Action Principle (Classical and Quantum Theory)

I) My first question would be "why should classical systems obey the principle of least action ?" When we find out the propagator in quantum physics, we find the amplitude to be equal to the sum over ...
13
votes
4answers
9k views

Derivation of Maxwell's equations from field tensor lagrangian

I've started reading Peskin and Schroeder on my own time, and I'm a bit confused about how to obtain Maxwell's equations from the (source-free) lagrangian density $L = ...
0
votes
1answer
146 views

Acoustical wave equation from Hamilton's principle

It is common to show the features and power of the Hamilton's principle by deriving the equation of vibrating string, membrane etc. using this principle. But I have never seen that used for deriving ...
1
vote
1answer
53 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 ...
3
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1answer
167 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
44 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
votes
1answer
62 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
votes
0answers
34 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 ...
6
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0answers
100 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
votes
2answers
98 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 ...
1
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0answers
38 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
votes
1answer
70 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 ...
1
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2answers
65 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
votes
1answer
58 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 + ...
7
votes
2answers
679 views

Finding 3-Sphere Christoffel connection coefficients using variational calculus, Sean Carrol problem

I have A 3-Sphere with coordinates $x^{\mu} = (\psi,\theta,\phi)$ and the following metric: \begin{equation} ds^2 = d\psi^2 + \text{sin}^2\psi(d\theta^2 + \text{sin}^2\theta d\phi^2) \end{equation} ...
10
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3answers
2k views

Noether's current expression in Peskin and Schroeder

In the second chapter of Peskin and Schroeder, An Introduction to Quantum Field Theory, it is said that the action is invariant if the Lagrangian density changes by a four-divergence. But if we ...
6
votes
1answer
145 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
40 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
votes
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 ...
1
vote
1answer
45 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
60 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
vote
2answers
74 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.
1
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1answer
63 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.
2
votes
5answers
221 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} ...
0
votes
0answers
44 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
68 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
49 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
295 views

Examples in which the light maximizes the optical path length

I posted a similar question about geodesics on Math.SE. Many sources (Wikibooks for instance) claim that the light could maximize the optical path length in some cases. But I don't think it's actually ...
3
votes
2answers
442 views

Accounting for metric tensor derivatives in Einstein-Hilbert action

I'm puzzling over the canonical derivation of GR from the Einstein-Hilbert action; getting the derivation to gel with an explicit treatment of the functional derivative isn't working out. So the ...
0
votes
0answers
28 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
223 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
33 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 ...
1
vote
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?
1
vote
1answer
106 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
32 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} = ...
1
vote
0answers
56 views

Is the law of maximum entropy production the same as principle of least action?

I just have read about the law of maximum entropy production. Someone has idolized it enough to make an whole website just for it: http://www.lawofmaximumentropyproduction.com/ A system will ...
2
votes
0answers
108 views

Why can't we fix the metric and its derivatives at boundary, with the variational method?

In general relativity and for its Einstein-Hilbert action, we usually ask that the metric variations $\delta g_{\mu \nu}$ cancel on the boundary $\partial \, \Omega$ of some region $\Omega$ of the ...
4
votes
0answers
185 views

Variation of the Einstein-Hilbert action in D dimensions without the Gibbons-Hawking-York term

Consider the standard Einstein-Hilbert action in $D \ne 2$ dimensions spacetimes : \begin{equation} S_{EH} = \frac{1}{2 \kappa} \int_{\Omega} R \; \sqrt{- g} \; d^D x, \end{equation} where $\Omega$ is ...
7
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0answers
71 views

Spinning a rope when hanging, what is the curve? [duplicate]

Holding a rope from one end and spinning it. As shown in the picture, what will be the curve of it?
2
votes
2answers
200 views

Detailed conditions for symmetries of Lagrangian

Edit: To clarify the question, I am asking why we are justified in calling a continuous symmetry a symmetry of a system when it changes the Lagrangian by a total derivative of a function of $t, q(t)$ ...
12
votes
1answer
570 views

Why is it so coincident that Palatini variation of Einstein-Hilbert action will obtain an equation that connection is Levi-Civita connection?

There are two ways to do the variation of Einstein-Hilbert action. First one is Einstein formalism which takes only metric independent. After variation of action, we get the Einstein field equation. ...
9
votes
3answers
964 views

Derivation of the Polyakov Action

As is usually done when first presenting string theory, the Nambu-Goto Action, $$ S_{\text{NG}}:=-T\int d\tau d\sigma \sqrt{-g} $$ ($g:=\det (g_{\alpha \beta})$ is the induced metric on the ...
5
votes
4answers
821 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 ...