Variational Approach and Equations of Motion
The variational approach is intimately related to mechanics, which has provided a major stimulus for its development. In this chapter we consider basic concepts and results of the variational calculus in a “mechanical” context. It is shown that physical laws may admit a dual formulation: either in the form of a variational principle or in the form of equations. This fact is stressed by programs, which automatically deduce the governing equations from a relevant extremum problem.
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