Generalized coordinates

  1. radou

    radou 3,108
    Homework Helper

    I have just started to read Goldstein's classical mechanics, and he got me a bit confused: is it correct to think of polar and spherical coordinates as of generalized coordinates? the way I got it, every coordinate system different from the standard cartesian-one is a set of generalized coordinates...?
  2. jcsd
  3. dextercioby

    dextercioby 12,327
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    No. Think about the 1D movement along the "x" axis. Which is the generalized coordinate...?

  4. Generalized coordinates refer to any coordinate system. i.e. a statement about generalized coordinates holds for cartesian, spherical, cylindrical, etc. coordinate systems. In particular, one is free to choose any convenient coordinate system for a problem and solve the problem using Lagrange's equations for that coordinate system.
  5. CarlB

    CarlB 1,204
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Yes, polar and spherical coordinates are generalized coordiantes for the position of a single particle. But general coordinates are a lot moe general. And cartesian coordinates are, technically at least, also "general coordinates".

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