Fr.: dynamique lagrangienne
A reformulation of → Newtonian mechanics in which dynamical properties of the system are described in terms of generalized variables. In this approach the → generalized coordinates and → generalized velocities are treated as independent variables. Indeed applying Newton's laws to complicated problems can become a difficult task, especially if a description of the motion is needed for systems that either move in a complicated manner, or other coordinates than → Cartesian coordinates are used, or even for systems that involve several objects. Lagrangian dynamics encompasses Newton dynamics, and moreover leads to the concept of the → Hamiltonian of the system and a process by means of which it can be calculated. The Hamiltonian is a cornerstone in the field of → quantum mechanics.