Previous | Next --- Slide 12 of 46
Back to Lecture Thumbnails

I believe this representation of the Euler-Lagrange equation might be confusing. I don't think that q and q' are independent just because we are taking partial derivatives. An alternative expression would be:

Let L(x, y, z) be such that L(q, q', t) = K - U. Then the Euler-Lagrange equation gives: (d/dt) ((dL/dy) (q, q', t)) = (dL / dx) (q, q', t).

On the left: (1) Take the partial with respect to the second coordinate where L is a function of x, y, z. (2) Substitute in (q, q', t). (3) Differentiate with respect to t. On the right: (1) Take the partial with respect to the first coordinate. (2) Substitute in (q, q', t).

I believe this is why q and q' are "unrelated" in the Euler-Lagrange Equation.