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Lagrange's equations of motion have been introduced first for systems of particles and then foe rigid
bodies. We also looked at the variational principles that also led to the equation of motion. The power of
the Lagrangian formulation was based on being able to us generalized coordinates to develop the equation
of motion. Lagrange's equations are invariant under well-defined coordinate transformations. With the
appropriate choice of coordinates, we ended up with the minimal number of equations necessary to
describe the dynamics of a system. Coordinates chosen to be compatible with consraints eliminated the
necessity to deal with constraints forces.
Nevertheless, the Lagrangian formulation is not the most general formulation in analytical dynamics. The
equations of motion thus developed are equal in number to the number of degrees of freedom. The
equations are of the second order.
The solutions of Lagrange's equations described the trajectory of a single point in the configuration space.
This space, however, is not the best place to analyze the solutions. Through each point in the
configuration space, an infinite number of different solutions may pass, depending on the given velocities
at the point. Take, for example, a simple harmonic oscillator. The configuration space is the real line. An
infinite number of solutions to the equations may pass through any point on the real line.
It is much more valuable to consider position and velocity as independent variables. Thus we analyze the
motion of a point in the plane: one axis for the position and one axis for the velocity. This is similar to the
energy method discussed in Chapter 1. Now each point in this state space has two coordinates: one for
position and the other for velocity. Conversely, the pair of coordinates defines a unique state of the
system. A unique solution to the problem passes through any point in the state space. Thus, the state space
is the logical place for analysis.
We write Lagrange's equations of motion as

, =

Suppose that f(x) is a twice-differentiable function that is strictly convex, that is,
f(x) > 0
on some interval. We introduce a new variable, called the tangential coordinate, defined by,
p = f(x)
which is the slope of the curve. By the Inverse Function Theorem, Equation (5.3) can be solved for
x = x(p)
based on the convexity assumption (5.2) on f(x). We now introduce a new function
g(p) = xp f(x)
which is regarded as a function of p. The transformation from the variable pair [x, f(x)] to the variable pair
[x, f(x)] to the variable pair [p, g(p)] defined by (5.4) is known as the Legendre Transformation of f(x)
with respect to the variable x. Thus transformation has some remarkable properties. First,

= x + p

= x
by definition (5.3) of the tangential coordinate p. Hence x is the tangential coordinate for g(p). Also, the
Legendre transformation of g(p) with respect to the variable p is
px g(p) = px [xp f(x)]
= f(x)
Hence tere is a duality between the variable pairs [x, f(x)] and [p, g(p)].
For example, if f(x) = m

/2, then p = mx and so x = p/m, so that


Now we can apply a Legendre transformation to a function of several variables. Let

) be a function of n+m variables

does not vanish, that is,


We introduce new coordinates,

By the Implicit Function Theorem, the condition (5.5) guarntees that we can solve the system of equations
(5.6) for

Now we define the Legendre transformation of f with respect to the variables


in which it is understood that the old variables are expressed in terms of the new ones by the relations
(5.7). As in the one-dimentional case, it follows that

And that

Hence the transformations are completely symmetrical. There is a duality between the two sets of
variables and functions. There is one more property that is worth not-ing. The variables

not actively participate in the transformation, but from the transformation (5.8), it follows that

For each of the subscripts
We have already encountered the Legendre transformation. Recall that the generalized momenta
conjugate to ignorable coordinates are constant. That is,

for all generalized coordinates not appearing in the Lagrangian. Equations (5.12) can be solved for the
generalized velocities

associated with the ignorable coordinates. If we treat the constants

tangential coordinates, then the Legendre transformation of the Lagrangian with the respect to the
generalized velocities associated with the ignorable coordinates is

which of course is the Routhian function. It is the property (5.11) that allows us to formulate the equation
of motion for the nonignorable coordinates in terms of the Routhian R.

We are now in the position to make the appropriate change of variables. We take the Legendre
transformation of the Lagrangian with respect to all of the generalized velocities. The tangential
coordinates associated with the generalized velocities in the Lagrangian function are the conjugate
momenta conveniently given by

The Lagrangian function is quadratic in the generalized velocities and in fact is a positive-definite
function of the generalized velocities. Hence condition (5.5) is evidently satisfied. This allows ud to solve
Equations (5.13) for all of the generalized velocities

in terms of the conjugate momenta

. The
Legendre transformation of the Lagrangian with respect to all of the generalized velocities is

The dual function H in (5.14) is a function of the generalized coordinates

and the generalized momenta

and is defined as the Hamiltonian function.