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Difference between Newtonian, Langrange, and Hamiltonian Mechanics

  1. Mar 2, 2008 #1
    Hey I was just wondering what the differences between the three forms of mechanics were. I've only studied basic Newtonian mechanics so I'm not really sure about the other two. Could anyone elaborate?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 2, 2008 #2


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    They are not different in the sense you imply. Lagrangian mechanics is a further developement of Newtonian dynamics, and Hamilton's work is based on Lagrange principles. So they form a progression.

    It is a very large, important and fascinating field of study so it wouldn't be practical to teach it here. I recommend any decent book on classical mechanics, which will take you through the progression.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2008
  4. Mar 13, 2008 #3
    Mechanics is mechanics. Lagrange and Hamilton mechanics are both known as analytical mechanics. The treatment is just more conceptual and more mathematical. It depends if you like formalism. Anyway, give it a try: sometimes it is easier (especially for systems with several degrees of freedom) to solve a problem with these tools rather than with a (in fact: several coupled) Newton equation, which quickly becomes cumbersome. Have a look to Landau or Goldstein books. To be honest, I should however say that analytical mechanics is nice, it gives a lot of insights and concepts, but it is not so useful in the end. Don't get too fascinated by this kind of stuff, and don't loose too much time (physics is wide !).
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2008
  5. Mar 14, 2008 #4
    diff. between these mechanics

    see newtonion mechanics deals with vectors like mom. and acc. but then came lagrangian mech. which deals in terms of energies which are scalars and hence equations are easy to solve. but these eqns. are second order differential eqns. .to improve on that and mke eqn. of motion a one dimensional diff. eqn. hamiltonian mech. is introduced.
  6. Mar 15, 2008 #5
    Thanks, everyone, especially nandan!
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