6k views

Physical meaning of the Lagrangian function [duplicate]

In Lagrangian mechanics, the function $L=T-V$, called Lagrangian, is introduced, where $T$ is the kinetic energy and $V$ the potential one. I was wondering: is there any reason for this quantity to be ...
110 views

What is the physical significance of a Lagrangian and an action in particle physics? [duplicate]

I’m currently studying for a particle physics module about the standard model and there is a lot of material on Lagrangians (curly L) and actions (S). I’m not quite sure what both of these quantities ...
87 views

Information contained in Lagrangians and actions [duplicate]

I've been looking into analytical mechanics with the intention of finding out more about Lagrangians and actions. As far as I currently understand it, the Lagrangian is formed with positions and ...
8k views

Lagrangians not of the form $T-U$

My Physics teacher was reluctant to define Lagrangian as Kinetic Energy minus Potential Energy because he said that there were cases where a system's Lagrangian did not take this form. Are you are ...
16k 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 ...
11k views

Why on-shell vs. off-shell matters?

The definitions between on- and off-shell are given in Wikipedia. Why is it so important in QFT to distinguish these two notions?
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Hamilton-Jacobi Equation

In the Hamilton-Jacobi equation, we take the partial time derivative of the action. But the action comes from integrating the Lagrangian over time, so time seems to just be a dummy variable here and ...
3k views

Meaning of kinetic part in the Lagrangian density?

What is the physical meaning of the kinetic term in the classical scalar field Lagrangian $$\mathcal{L}_{kin}~=~\frac{1}{2}(\partial_\mu\phi)(\partial^\mu\phi)~?$$ It gives how does the field change ...
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Hamilton's characteristic and principal functions and separability

Just hoping for some clarity regarding Hamilton's characteristic function $W$. When we take a time independent Hamiltonian we can separate the Principal function $S$ up into the characteristic ...
699 views

Why the Lagrangian $L$ is KE - PE? Why not KE + PE!

With Lagrangian, is there any way to intuitively grasp why total energy equals the difference between the kinetic and potential energy? Seems counter-intuitive - whereas Hamiltonian calculation (sum ...
474 views

What exactly is the Action? (Learning lagrangian)

I have been trying to wrap my head around lagrangian mechanics but I find some parts confusing. For example, what exactly is action and why is it defined by the Kinetic energy minus the potential ...
393 views

Heuristic Motivation for Lagrangian Formalism

Does anyone know a good heuristic motivation for the Lagrangian Formalism? I think most physicist just accept at one point that it works and thats that. I think I understand the historic origin. ...
469 views

Derivation of Noether's theorem - A problem with physical significance

My question is about the field theoretic version of Noether's theorem. I am deeply troubled by one of the hypotheses of the theorem. As it is the standard textbook for Lagrange mechanics, I'll follow ...
In my course on Lagrangian/Hamiltonian mechanics I noticed that we dealt with finding the stationary point of the change in action $\delta S$ and we were never really doing anything with $S$ ...