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# Hamilton's Equations

http://farside.ph.utexas.edu/teaching/336k/Newton/node91.html

## ext: Exercises Up: Hamiltonian Dynamics Previous: Constrained Lagrangian Dynamics

Hamilton's Equations
Consider a dynamical system with degrees of freedom which is described by the generalized coordinates , for . Suppose that neither the kinetic energy, , nor the potential energy, , depend explicitly on the time, . Now, in conventional dynamical systems, the potential energy is generally independent of the , whereas the kinetic energy takes the form of a homogeneous quadratic function of the . In other words, (744)

where the

depend on the

(745)

## where independent of the

is the Lagrangian of the system, and we have made use of the fact that . Consider the function

is

(747)

If all of the conditions discussed above are satisfied then Equations (745) and (746) yield (748)

## is equal to the total energy of the system.

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Hamilton's Equations

http://farside.ph.utexas.edu/teaching/336k/Newton/node91.html

## Consider the variation of the function

. We have

(749)

The first and third terms in the bracket cancel, because equation can be written (see Section 9.8), we obtain

## . Furthermore, since Lagrange's

(750)

Suppose, now, that we can express the total energy of the system, , with no explicit dependence on the

and the .

## . In other words, suppose that we can write

When the energy is written in this fashion it is generally termed the Hamiltonian of the system. The variation of the Hamiltonian function takes the form (751)

## A comparison of the previous two equations yields (752)

(753)

for . These first-order differential equations are known as Hamilton's equations. Hamilton's equations are often a useful alternative to Lagrange's equations, which take the form of second-order differential equations. Consider a one-dimensional harmonic oscillator. The kinetic and potential energies of the system are written and generalized momentum conjugate to is (754) , where is the displacement, the mass, and . The

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Hamilton's Equations

http://farside.ph.utexas.edu/teaching/336k/Newton/node91.html

## Thus, Hamilton's equations, (752) and (753), yield (757)

(758)

Of course, the first equation is just a restatement of Equation (754), whereas the second is Newton's second law of motion for the system. Consider a particle of mass moving in the central potential . In this case,

(759)

where

and

are (760)

(761)

## Thus, the Hamiltonian of the system takes the form

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Hamilton's Equations

http://farside.ph.utexas.edu/teaching/336k/Newton/node91.html

(763)

## In this case, Hamilton's equations yield (764)

(765)

which are just restatements of Equations (760) and (761), respectively, as well as (766)

(767)

where

## is a constant. This can be combined with Equation (766) to give (769)

where

. Of course, Equations (768) and (769) are the conventional equations of motion for a

## particle moving in a central potential--see Chapter 5.

ext: Exercises Up: Hamiltonian Dynamics Previous: Constrained Lagrangian Dynamics Richard Fitzpatrick 2011-03-31

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