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Assignment 1

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Physics Department Due September 15, 2014

September 6, 2014 6:00pm

Announcements

The rst week is dedicated primarily to discussing and expanding upon material from

Classical Mechanics II.

Lagrangian and Hamiltonian classical mechanics, symmetries and conservation laws.

Use of generalized coordinates to handle constraints to motion on surfaces or curves.

Read the following parts of Goldstein to review and extend concepts you have

already seen in Classical Mechanics II: pgs. 34-45, 55-56, 61-63, 334-342, then 343

347 and 353-356 (ie. specic parts of sections 2.1-2.3, 2.6, 2.7, 8.1, 8.2, 8.5.) If your

feeling rusty with Clasical Mechanics II material you might want to review sections

1-10, and 40 of Landau & Lifshitz.

On problem set #2 we will cover: DAlemberts principle and systems with holonomic

and non-holonomic constraints. Use of Lagrange multipliers to determine forces of

constraint. If you want to read ahead the corresponding reading is Goldstein: sec

tions 1.3-1.6, 2.4, 2.5, 8.5.

1

Physics 8.09, Classical Physics III, Fall 2014 2

Problem Set 1

These ve problems are intended to help you review and generalize results from Clas

sical Mechanics II.

Consider two masses m1 and m2 moving in three dimensions which are attracted to

each other gravitationally, and are also acted on by a uniform gravitational eld with

acceleration strength g in the z direction.

(a) What is the Lagrangian? Use center of mass coordinates and the vector distance

r between the two particles. This Lagrangian naturally splits itself into the sum

of two parts, explain physically why this makes sense.

(b) Consider the part of the Lagrangian depending on r and determine the La

grangian and compute the Euler-Lagrange equations of motion using spherical

coordinates.

(c) Using the Lagrangian in (b), what is the corresponding Hamiltonian? What are

the Hamilton equations of motion?

Since the double pendelum is our mascot on the course homepage, wed best nd the

equations that govern its motion.

the double pendulum illustrated here. The point at the

top is xed and the oscillations take place in a two-

1 dimensional plane. The length of the pendula are 1

1

and 2 , and the rigid bars of the pendula can be taken

to be massless. The balls on the ends have mass m1 and

m1

m2 .

2 2

system, and the Hamilton equations of motion. [If you

wish you can make use of results derived in lecture.]

Image by MIT OpenCourseWare.

Do Goldstein Ch.2 Problem #18. Use spherical coordinates (r, , ) with the origin

at the center of the hoop.

Physics 8.09, Classical Physics III, Fall 2014 3

A massless spring has an unstretched length b and spring constant k, and is used to

connect two particles of mass m1 and m2 . The system rests on a frictionless table

and may oscillate and rotate.

(b) Setup a suitable set of generalized coordinates to better account for the symme

tries of this system. What are the Lagrangian and equations of motion in these

variables?

(c) Identify as many conserved generalized momenta as you can that are associated

to cyclic coordinates in the Lagrangian from part b). If you think you are

missing some, try to improve your answer to b). Show that there is a solution

that rotates but does not oscillate, and discuss what happens to this solution

for an increased rate of rotation. (A closed form solution is not necessary. A

graphical solution will suce.)

Consider an extension of classical mechanics where the equation of motion involves

...

a triple time derivative, x = f (x, x, x,

t). Lets use Hamiltons principle to derive

the corresponding Euler-Lagrange equations. Start with a Lagrangian of the form

L(qi , qi , qi , t) for n generalized coordinates qi , and make use of Hamiltons principle

for paths qi (t) that have zero variation of both qi and qi at the end points. Show that

d2 L

d L L

+ =0

dt2 qi dt qi qi

for each i = 1, . . . , n.

Some of you have seen this problem already in Classical Mechanics II. If it does not

sound familiar then I suggest you try it. (It will not be graded but solutions will be

provided.)

Let L(q, q, t) be the Lagrangian for a particle with coordinate q, which satises the

Euler-Lagrange equations. Show that the Lagrangian

dF (q, t)

L' = L +

dt

also satises the Euler-Lagrange equations where F is an arbitrary dierentiable

function.

MIT OpenCourseWare

http://ocw.mit.edu

Fall 2014

For information about citing these materials or our Terms of Use, visit: http://ocw.mit.edu/terms.

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