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Solutions to Problems in Goldstein,

Classical Mechanics, Second Edition


Homer Reid
June 17, 2002
Chapter 8
Problem 8.4
The Lagrangian for a system can be written as
L = a x
2
+ b
y
x
+ c x y + fy
2
x z + g y k
_
x
2
+ y
2
,
where a, b, c, f, g, and k are constants. What is the Hamiltonian? What quantities
are conserved?
Problem 8.5
A dynamical system has the Lagrangian
L = q
2
1
+
q
2
2
a + bq
2
1
+ k
1
q
2
1
+ k
2
q
1
q
2
,
where a, b, k
1
and k
2
are constants. Find the equations of motion in the Hamiltonian
formulation.
Rewriting the Lagrangian in the form of Goldsteins (8-16), we have
L = k
1
q
2
1
+
1
2
_
q
1
q
2
__
2 k
2
k
2
2
a+bq
2
1
__
q
1
q
2
_
1
Homer Reids Solutions to Goldstein Problems: Chapter 8 2
From this we can immediately identify the T matrix and its inverse:
T =
_
2 k
2
k
2
2
a+bq
2
1
_
T
1
=
_
a + bq
2
1
4 k
2
2
(a + bq
2
1
)
__
2
a+bq
2
1
k
2
k
2
2
_
Then the Hamiltonian is
H =
1
2
_
a + bq
2
1
4 k
2
2
(a + bq
2
1
)
_ _
p
1
p
2
__
2
a+bq
2
1
k
2
k
2
2
__
p
1
p
2
_
k
1
q
2
1
=
_
a + bq
2
1
4 k
2
2
(a + bq
2
1
)
_ _
p
2
1
a + bq
2
1
k
2
p
1
p
2
+ p
2
2
_
k
1
q
2
1
.
Then the equations of motion are
q
1
=
H
p
1
=
_
a + bq
2
1
4 k
2
2
(a + bq
2
1
)
_ _
2p
1
a + bq
2
1
k
2
p
2
_
q
2
=
H
p
2
=
_
a + bq
2
1
4 k
2
2
(a + bq
2
1
)
_
{kp
1
2p
2
}
p
1
=
H
q
1
= something ugly
p
2
=
H
q
2
= 0
So in the Hamiltonian formulation there is one cylic variable, but I still think
this is much harder than the Lagrangian formulation for this problem.
Homer Reids Solutions to Goldstein Problems: Chapter 8 3
Problem 8.6
A Hamiltonian of one degree of freedom has the form
H =
p
2
2a
bqpe
t
+
ba
2
q
2
e
t
( + be
t
) +
kq
2
2
,
where a, b, , and k are constants. Note: I think there must be a misprint in the
book; the coecient of p
2
in the rst term is printed there as 1/2, which doesnt
make sense dimensionally in light of the rest of the terms in the Hamiltonian. It
seems reasonable to assume that someone got their Greek and Roman letters mixed
up, as the units do work out correctly if we put 1/2a for the coecient of that term.
(a) Find a Lagrangian corresponding to this Hamiltonian.
(b) Find an equivalent Lagrangian that is not explicitly dependent on time.
(c) What is the Hamiltonian corresponding to this second Lagrangian, and what
is the relationship between the two Hamiltonians?
(a) From the Hamilton equations of motion,
q =
H
p
=
p
a
bqe
t
. (1)
Then, using a reverse Legendre transformation,
L = p q H
=
p
2
a
bqpe
t

_
p
2
2a
bqpe
t
+
ba
2
q
2
e
t
( + be
t
) +
kq
2
2
_
=
p
2
2a

ba
2
q
2
e
t
( + be
t
)
kq
2
2
. (2)
We would now like to eliminate p from this equation in favor of q. From (1) we
have
p = a q + bqae
t
p
2
= a
2
q
2
+ 2bq qa
2
e
t
+ b
2
q
2
a
2
e
2t
so (2) becomes
L =
a q
2
2
+ bq qae
t
+
1
2
b
2
q
2
ae
2t

baq
2
2
e
t

b
2
aq
2
2
e
2t

kq
2
2
=
a q
2
2
+ bqae
t
_
q
1
2
q
_

kq
2
2
. (3)
Homer Reids Solutions to Goldstein Problems: Chapter 8 4
(b) Since we can the total time derivative of any function f(q, q, t) to the La-
grangian without changing the resulting equations of motion, we consider
L

= L
d
dt
_
ab
2
q
2
e
t
_
.
The derivative term just cancels the second term in (3), leaving
L

=
a q
2
2

kq
2
2
(4)
which is just the Lagrangian of a one-dimensional harmonic oscillator.
(c) From (4), the new canonical momentum is
p =
L

q
= a q
Then the Legendre transformation dening the Hamiltonian reads
H = p q L =
a q
2
2
+
kq
2
2
=
p
2
2a
+
kq
2
2
.
Problem 8.9
The point of suspension of a simple pendulum of length l and mass m is constrained
to move on a parabola z = ax
2
in the vertical plane. Derive a Hamiltonian governing
the motion of the pendulum and its point of suspension. Obtain the Hamiltons
equations of motion.
Well denote the coordinates of the suspension point as (x, z) = (x, ax
2
).
Then, if is the angle the pendulum makes with the vertical ( = 0 when the
mass point is precisely at 6:00, and grows in the positive direction as the mass
point moves counter-clockwise) then the coordinates of the mass point are
(x
m
, z
m
) = (x + Lsin, z Lcos )
= (x + Lsin, ax
2
Lcos ).
The potential energy of the system is
L = mgz = mg(ax
2
Lcos ). (5)
Homer Reids Solutions to Goldstein Problems: Chapter 8 5
The kinetic energy is
T =
m
2
( x
2
m
+ z
2
m
)
=
m
2
_
( x + L

cos )
2
+ (2ax x + L

sin)
2
_
=
m
2
_
(1 + 4a
2
x
2
) x
2
+ L
2

2
+ 2L

x[cos + 2axsin]
_
. (6)
Then the Lagrangian for the system is, from (7) and (6),
L = T L
=
m
2
_
(1 + 4a
2
x
2
) x
2
+ L
2

2
+ 2L

x[cos + 2axsin]
_
mgax
2
+ mgLcos .
For convenience in converting to the Hamiltonian, we may write this in the
language of Goldsteins (8-16):
L = L
0
(x, ) +
m
2
_
x

__
(1 + 4a
2
x
2
) L[cos + 2axsin]
L[cos + 2axsin] L
2
__
x

_
(7)
where L
0
(x, ) = mgax
2
+ mgLcos . Then from Goldsteins (??) we can
write
H =
1
2m
_
1
L
2
(sin 2axcos )
2
_

(p
x
p

)
_
L
2
L[cos + 2axsin]
L[cos + 2axsin] (1 + 4a
2
x
2
)
__
p
x
p

_
L
0
(x, )
=
1
2m
_
1
L
2
(sin 2axcos )
2
_

_
L
2
p
2
x
2L[cos + 2axsin]p
x
p

+ (1 + 4a
2
x
2
)p
2

_
L
0
(x, )