“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” - Often attributed to Plato but likely from Ian McLaren (pseudonym of Reverend John Watson)

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Why "Hamiltonian Function"?

Physicists (of which I am most emphatically not one) will instantly recognize the "Hamiltonian." It's not about a horse race (though I stuck "function" on in the name to distinguish it from that) nor does it refer to a Founding Father. Rather, the Hamiltonian is a function that represents the total energy of a system utilizing a reformulation of Newtonian mechanics called, unsurprisingly, Hamiltonian mechanics. Since this blog is nominally about energy, how to minimize its expenditure, and take maximum advantage the energy I convert, the Hamiltonian Function as a title seems appropriate to me.

Though it typically doesn't make a particular problem easier to solve, it's considered that the Hamiltonian of a system is capable of providing deeper insight into the nature of the system under consideration than the second order differential equations of Newtonian mechanics. This is particularly true when the system involves quantum mechanical considerations, though it is completely general in its application. I'd be flattering myself to contend that my little blog is capable of providing deep insights, but I do hope that it can provide a different point of view and be thought provoking.

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