Worlds of David Darling
Encyclopedia of Science
   
Home > Encyclopedia of Science

Hamiltonian



  1. A mathematical function that can be used systematically and with great generality to generate the equations of motion of a dynamic system. The Hamiltonian is equivalent in many cases to the sum of the kinetic energy and potential energy of a system expressed in terms of the system's coordinates and momenta treated as independent variables.

  2. A mathematical operator that generates such a function.

The Hamiltonian is named after the Irish mathematician William Rowan Hamilton, who first formulated it.


Related category

   • FUNCTIONS