## Lorentz force from Lagrangian (non-covariant)

Posted by Peeter Joot on September 22, 2009

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# Motivation

Jackson [1] gives the Lorentz force non-covariant Lagrangian

and leaves it as an exercise for the reader to verify that this produces the Lorentz force law. Felt like trying this anew since I recall having trouble the first time I tried it (the covariant derivation was easier).

# Guts

Jackson gives a tip to use the convective derivative (yet another name for the chain rule), and using this in the Euler Lagrange equations we have

where is the spatial basis. The first order of business is calculating the gradient and conjugate momenta. For the latter we have

Applying the convective derivative we have

For the gradient we have

Rearranging 2 for this Lagrangian we have

The first two terms are the electric field

So it remains to be shown that the remaining two equal . Using the Hestenes notation using primes to denote what the gradient is operating on, we have

I’ve used the Geometric Algebra identities I’m familiar with to regroup things, but this last bit can likely be done with index manipulation too. The exercise is complete, and we have from the Lagrangian

# References

[1] JD Jackson. *Classical Electrodynamics Wiley*. 2nd edition, 1975.

## quantum said

what is hestenes notation….don’t understand?

## peeterjoot said

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vector_calculus_identities#Vector_dot_product

or one of:

Geometric Algebra for Physicists

New Foundations for Classical Mechanics (Fundamental Theories of Physics)

Neither of these books is a quick read. You can ignore that whole block and working backward instead with whatever identities you are familiar with to find that: