A modified formal Lagrangian formulation for general differential equations

Research paper by Linyu Peng

Indexed on: 10 Sep '20Published on: 09 Sep '20Published in: arXiv - Mathematical Physics


In this paper, we propose a modified formal Lagrangian formulation by introducing dummy dependent variables and prove the existence of such a formulation for any system of differential equations. The corresponding Euler--Lagrange equations, consisting of the original system and its adjoint system about the dummy variables, reduce to the original system via a simple substitution for the dummy variables. The formulation is applied to study conservation laws of differential equations through Noether's Theorem and in particular, a nontrivial conservation law of the Fornberg--Whitham equation is obtained by using its Lie point symmetries. Finally, a correspondence between conservation laws of the incompressible Euler equations and variational symmetries of the relevant modified formal Lagrangian is shown.