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theories:classical_mechanics:hamiltonian

Hamiltonian Mechanics

see also Hamiltonian Formalism and Hamilton's Equations

Intuitive

Explanations in this section should contain no formulas, but instead colloquial things like you would hear them during a coffee break or at a cocktail party.

Concrete


Reading Recommendations

  • The best book on Hamiltonian mechanics is The Lazy Universe by Coopersmith

Abstract

Lagrangian mechanics can be formulated geometrically using fibre bundles.

The Hamiltonian function is defined on the cotangent bundle $T^\star(C)$, which is called phase space.

In contrast, the Lagrangian function is defined on the tangent bundle $T(C)$ of the configuration space $C$.

The map from $T^\star(C) \leftrightarrow T(C)$ is called Legendre transformation.

The phase space is endowed with a symplectic structure, called Poisson Bracket. The Poisson Bracket is an operation that eats two scalar fields $\Phi$, $\Psi$ on the manifold and spits out another scalar field $\theta $:

$$ \theta = \{ \Phi,\Psi \}= \frac{\partial \Phi}{\partial p_a}\frac{\partial \Psi}{\partial q^a}-\frac{\partial \Phi}{\partial q_a}\frac{\partial \Psi}{\partial p^a}.$$

If we leave the $\Psi$ slot blank, we can use the Poisson bracket to define a differential operator $\{\Phi,\ \}$. This is a vector field and when in acts on $\Psi$, we get $\{\Phi, \Psi \}$. If we use instead of $\Phi$, the Hamiltonian $H$, we get an differential operator $\{H,\ \}$ that 'points along' the trajectories on in phase space $T^\star(C)$ and describes exactly the evolution that we get from Hamilton's equations.

In this sense, the dynamical evolution of a given system is completely described by the Hamiltonian (= a scalar function).




a ‘Hamiltonian’ $$H : T^* Q \to \mathbb{R}$$ or a ‘Lagrangian’ $$L : T Q \to \mathbb{R}$$

Instead, we started with Hamilton’s principal function $$S : Q \to \mathbb{R}$$ where $Q$ is not the usual configuration space describing possible positions for a particle, but the ‘extended’ configuration space, which also includes time. Only this way do Hamilton’s equations, like the Maxwell relations, become a trivial consequence of the fact that partial derivatives commute.

https://johncarlosbaez.wordpress.com/2012/01/23/classical-mechanics-versus-thermodynamics-part-2/

Why is it interesting?

theories/classical_mechanics/hamiltonian.txt · Last modified: 2018/10/11 12:12 by jakobadmin