Do i have to be a grad student in order to understand lagrangian

In summary, the conversation discusses understanding Lagrangian mechanics, specifically whether one needs to be a graduate student to understand it. It is mentioned that Lagrangian mechanics is typically covered in undergraduate classical mechanics and a good understanding of multivariable calculus is helpful. Recommended resources for understanding Lagrangian mechanics include Feynman's Lectures, Marrion and Thornton's Mechanics book, Landau and Lifschitz's book, Goldstein's book, Corben and Stehle's book, and Fowles and Cassiday's book. The conversation also mentions that Arnold's book provides a good description and that Landau's book is a concise summary of classical mechanics. Additionally, an online text is suggested for those with a good working
  • #1
skywolf
81
0
do i have to be a grad student in order to understand lagrangian stuff?
im in calculus 2 and i was wondering if there's any books i might understand

thanks

-sw
 
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  • #2
No no, you don't have to be a grad student to understand Lagrangian mechanics. It's typically dealt with in undergraduate classical mechanics. Calc 3 (multivariable) is helpful, though. I'd recommend reading the Feynman's Lectures chapter on the "Principle of Least Action", and then later chapters of Marrion and Thornton's Mechanics book. together, these will give you an excellent introduction.
 
  • #3
Another book that I'm really fond of, is Landau and Lif****z, volume 1.
It is pretty compact.
 
  • #4
Landau and Lifschitz is pretty compact (I can't believe it censored that), probably not the best place to look at it. Goldstein's book does a pretty solid job talking about D'Alembert's principle, Hamilton's principle, etc., and I personally love Corben and Stehle's book on the subject (this one's in Dover).
 
  • #5
Goldstein is very encyclopedic, I would definitely not reccomend it until after you get some preliminary exposure from another source. Goldstein is more appropriate for a graduate course (and is what I used in grad school).
 
  • #6
My first exposure to the Lagrangian formulation was in a sophomore-level mechanics course that used Fowles and Cassiday, "Analytical Mechanics" as the textbook. (Back then it was just Fowles.)
 
  • #7
I was taught (Lagrangian, Hamiltonian, HJ mechanics) on a course which was inspired mostly from Landau and Arnold. But for starting i'd suggest Feynman's lectures and some nice book on variational calculus (i don't remember the name at the moment)

Daniel.
 
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  • #8
Arnold has a very good description. It made much more sense reading arnold than Goldstein. Landau is a gorgeous summary of classical mechanics, those russians don't waste a single word in their writings.
 
  • #9
If you have a good working knowledge of Newtonian mechanics, you might want to give this online text[PDF] a try.
 

Related to Do i have to be a grad student in order to understand lagrangian

1. What is a Lagrangian?

A Lagrangian is a mathematical function used in classical mechanics to describe the dynamics of a system. It is defined as the difference between the kinetic and potential energies of a system.

2. What is the importance of understanding Lagrangian?

Understanding Lagrangian is essential for studying and analyzing complex physical systems, such as the motion of particles or fluids. It allows for a more elegant and concise formulation of the laws of motion, making it easier to solve problems in mechanics.

3. Do I need to be a graduate student to understand Lagrangian?

No, you do not need to be a graduate student to understand Lagrangian. However, a strong background in mathematics and physics is necessary to fully comprehend its concepts and applications.

4. How can I learn about Lagrangian?

There are various resources available for learning about Lagrangian, such as textbooks, online courses, and lecture videos. It is recommended to have a solid understanding of calculus, mechanics, and differential equations before delving into Lagrangian.

5. Is Lagrangian only applicable to classical mechanics?

No, Lagrangian can also be applied to other areas of physics, such as quantum mechanics and electromagnetism. It is a powerful tool for analyzing the dynamics of complex systems and is widely used in various fields of science and engineering.

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