## Pages

News: Currently the LaTeX and hidden solutions on this blog do not work on Google Reader.
Email me if you have suggestions on how to improve this blog!

## Monday, 8 August 2011

### Physics GRE - #7

A particle of mass $m$ on the Earth's surface is confined to move on the parabolic curve $y=ax^2$, where $y$ is up. Which of the following is a Lagrangian for the particle?

• $L=\frac{1}{2}m\dot{y}^2\left(1+\frac{1}{4ay}\right)-mgy$
• $L=\frac{1}{2}m\dot{y}^2\left(1-\frac{1}{4ay}\right)-mgy$
• $L=\frac{1}{2}m\dot{x}^2\left(1+\frac{1}{4ax}\right)-mgx$
• $L=\frac{1}{2}m\dot{x}^2\left(1+4a^2x^2\right)+mgx$
• $L=\frac{1}{2}m\dot{y}^2+\frac{1}{2}m\dot{x}^2+mgy$

Solution :

Quick solution:
We know right away it is either the first choice or the second choice as $L=T-U$ and $U=mgy$. We know it must be the first choice as $T=\frac{1}{2}m(\dot{y}^2+\dot{x}^2)$, so we need a positive term $\left(+\frac{1}{4ay}\right)$ inside the brackets multiplied by $\dot{y}^2$.

Full solution: $\dot{x}=\frac{d}{dt}\sqrt{\frac{y}{a}}=\dot{y}\sqrt{\frac{1}{4ay}}$ $T=\frac{1}{2}m(\dot{y}^2+\dot{x}^2)=\frac{1}{2}m\dot{y}^2\left(1+\frac{1}{4ay}\right)$ $U=mgy$ $L=T-U=\frac{1}{2}m\dot{y}^2\left(1+\frac{1}{4ay}\right)-mgy$

#### Post a Comment

This webpage is LaTeX enabled. To type in-line formulae, type your stuff between two '\$'. To type centred formulae, type '$' at the beginning of your formula and '$' at the end.