Generalized coordinates

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  • #1
radou
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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...?
 

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

Daniel.
 
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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.
 
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CarlB
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radou said:
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?
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".

Carl
 

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