Linked Questions

21
votes
3answers
3k views

Confusion regarding the principle of least action in Landau & Lifshitz “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 ...
14
votes
6answers
2k views

In the Principle of Least Action, how does a particle know where it will be in the future?

In his book on Classical Mechanics, Prof. Feynman asserts that it just does. But if this is really what happens (& if the Principle of Least Action is more fundamental than Newton's Laws), then ...
9
votes
2answers
787 views

Is Action Always “Locally” Least?

In general, I know it's true that the Principle of Least Action is more properly called the Principle of "Stationary" Action. However, there are results which seem to suggest that for sufficiently ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

Principle of Least Action [duplicate]

Is the principle of least action actually a principle of least action or just one of stationary action? I think I read in Landau/Lifschitz that there are some examples where the action of an actual ...
6
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Action max, min, or saddle?

It is well known that $\delta S = 0$ lays the foundation for variational mechanics. But I am confused as to whether or not this S is a minimum, a maximum, or a saddle point. Some books address this ...
2
votes
2answers
193 views

Classical trajectories that are not a minimum of the action [duplicate]

Are there physically realizable dynamical systems where the true trajectory is not a minumum action trajectory? Formally, Lagrangian mechanics only requires that the trajectory be an extremum (or ...
2
votes
0answers
119 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 = \int\limits_{...
1
vote
1answer
41 views

Do solutions to the Euler Lagrange equation for physical Lagrangians actually minimize the action? [duplicate]

Do solutions to the Euler Lagrange equation for physical Lagrangians actually minimize the action? In other words, is it known that for all Lagrangians used in application, that the unique solution to ...
2
votes
0answers
49 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} L(q_1,...