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

  1. Nov 23, 2006 #1
    do i have to be a grad student in order to understand lagrangian stuff?
    im in calculus 2 and i was wondering if theres any books i might understand


  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 24, 2006 #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.
  4. Nov 24, 2006 #3


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    Another book that I'm really fond of, is Landau and Lif****z, volume 1.
    It is pretty compact.
  5. Nov 24, 2006 #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).
  6. Nov 24, 2006 #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).
  7. Nov 24, 2006 #6


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    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.)
  8. Nov 25, 2006 #7


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    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)

    Last edited: Nov 25, 2006
  9. Nov 25, 2006 #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.
  10. Nov 25, 2006 #9
    If you have a good working knowledge of newtonian mechanics, you might want to give this online text[PDF] a try.
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