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no 5

Mei 1940

Instituut voor Theoretische Natuurkunde der Rijlis-~~ni~ersiteit, Lciden

Zusammenfassung Nach einer kurzen Einleitung (3 1) wird in 2 untersucht, welchen Bedingungen die Lagrangesche Funktion fi eines Systems von Feldern geniigen muss, damit Dichte und Strom der elektrischen Ladung oder ahnlicher Grossen (wie z.B. die Dichte schwerer Teilchen) einer Kontinuitatsgleichung Geniige leisten. In diesem Zusammenhang wird das Postulat der Eichinvarianz von L! in einer etwas abweichenden Weise formuliert. In 5 3 werden dann die Ausdriicke fur die Energiedichte, den totalen Drehimpuls, das Bahnimpulsmoment, das Spinimpulsmoment und die Dichten dieser Grossen aus den Prinzipien der allgemeinen Relativitatstheorie hergeleitet. Es ergeben sich dann Ausdriicke, welche schon in einer friiheren Abhandlung vom Verfasser angedeutet wurden, und durch welthe diese Grossen sich aus dem Wirkungsintegranden L berechnen lassen ohne irgend welchen Bezug auf allgemeine Relativitat. Der Wirkungsintegrand L ist aber nur bis auf einer Divergenz bestimmt, wenn sein Integral ,?i vorgegeben ist. Es wird in 9 4 diskutiert, inwieweit dieser Umstand die Ausdriicke fiir die genannten Grossen beeinflusst. Insbesondere wird such untersucht, ob die Ausdriicke fiir elektrische Ladungsdichte und Energiedichte und die Zerlegung des Totaldrehimpulses in Bahnmoment und Spinmoment eindeutig bestimmt sind, wenn die Wirkungsfunktion fi nur bis auf diejenigen Terme vorgegeben ist, welche die Wechselwirkung der ,,materiellen Felder mit dem Maswellschen Feld und dem Gravitationsfeld bestimmen. Es zeigt sich, dass dieses nur der Fall ist fiir Lagrangesche Funktionen ,,erster Ovdnung, d.h. solche, aus denen sich Feldgleichungen erstev Ordnung herleiten lassen. Im iibrigen ergibt sich: 1. Solange Gravitationseffekte vernachlassigt werden, geben Gesamtenergie und Gesamtdrehimpuls nie Anlass zu Mehrdeutigkeiten. 2. Die Dichten dieser Grossen sind im Falle einer Lagrangeschen selbst in unrelativistischer Naherung, nur Funktion ,,zweiter Odnung, dann eindeutig bestimmt, wenn die Wirkungsfunktion h in allgemein-

Ihpsica VII

449 29



relativistischer Form genau vorgegeben ist. (Fur Lagrangesche Funktionen erster Ordnung ist solches nicht erforderlich). 3. Aber such dann noch bleibt die Zerlegung des Gesamtdrehimpulses in Bahnmoment und Spinmoment unbestimmt im Falle Lagrangescher Funktionen zweiter Ordnung. (Hingegen braucht eine Lagrangesche Funktion erster Ordnung nur unter Vernachlassigung von Gravitationstermen gegeben zu sein, urn diese Zerlegung vollig zu bedingen). 4. Die Spin- und Bahnmomentdichten sind nie eindeutig festgelegt.

5 1. Ilztrod~ction. In the present paper we shall deal with some problems of the general theory of fields, and in particular we shall discuss the definitions of the current and density of the charge, energy and momentum of an arbitrary field, the definition of its total, orbital and spin angular momenta and the continuity equations and conservation laws existing for these quantities. In the last section we shall examine how far the definitions given in the present paper furnish uniqzce expressions for the mentioned quantities, if the total Lagrangian fi of the field is given either completely or at least with neglect of terms describing gravitational or even electromagnetic effects. In this connection we shall see that it has some advantage to derive the first order and not the second order field equations from a Lagrangian. In general we shall confine our considerations to the c-number theory, from which, by quantization of the fields, the q-number theory may be derived in the usual way. We shall, however, introduce at once all field quantities, which are needed in order to make this quantization possible. Therefore, it will be inevitable to introduce at once the so-called F e r m i variable G, when the Maxwellian field is discussed (compare for instance F e r m i l), B e 1 i n f a n t e 2)). - Throughout the whole paper we shall omit all surface integrals over the (infinitely distant) boundary of the world. Then, all integrations by parts will take a simple form, and all integrals over some spatial or time co-ordinates of the derivative of any quantity with respect to one of these co-ordinates will vanish. It is not unusual to start the development of a field theory by writing down some second order differential equations, which are assumed to describe the field. The quantities occurring in these field equations are then regarded as the components of the field. If a sufficient number of new quantities is introduced, we can replace such second order differential equations by an equivalent set











of first order differential equations, which can likewise be consideren as the field equations describing the field. The first order as well as the second order field equations are usually derived from a Hamiltonian variational principle *) SLl = 0 where the total Lagrangian space and time CLI = fJJJLd--g L can be written as an integral cLr = / Ld-g (1) over
dx). (2)

dx dx dx da? (abbreviated:

Here, g is the determinant of the gravitational components gPY. In the following, we shall assume that LJ is real and that the Lagrangian function L is a scalar field with respect to all transformations admitted in relativity theory and that it is a function of the field components qn(x), of their first covariant derivatives ) V,q, and of the gravitational field g(x) only, so that t) L = L(qm vqn, g?. (3)

Fur?her, we assume that L does not depend exfilicitly on the coordinates xp. If gravitational effects- can be neglected, we choose these co-ordinates according to x0 = ct , x1 = x 2 x2 = y, and the metrical
go0 = -

x3 = 2,


tensor g,, according to 1, gll = gz2 = g3, = 11, gpv = 0, if CL# v, (5)

so that (2) takes the usual form

i3 =f-JfLdxdydzdt (24

in this approximation. In general, the field equations


from (l)-(3)

by a varia-

*) The gravitational as well as the field equations follow from a variational principle SW= 0, where, now, not only the ordinary field quantities q(x),but also the gravitational field &(x) is varied. Here cM/= jWd/-g Ctx, with IV = L(q,, V,q,, &) -!+ (1/2x) C(&, a$ti, a&gcrh) ; x is the gravitational constant, ap denotes differentiation with respect to xk and Vvqndenotes the covariant derivative of qn Compare for instance ), Nr. 57, p. 725. W. Pauli, ,, Relativitatstheorie t) Here, n stands for a set of tensor, spinor 6) or under 6) indices and some index labeling different field quantities of the same transformation properties; x is an abbreviation for {xc, xr, x2, x3).



tion Sq, of the field components

take the form *)

aL -aL 0 37n vvaB,q,= *


If L is only linenr in the V,q,, we shall call .i2 a first order Lagrangian. Then, the field equations (6) are always first order equations. As soon as L is quadratical in the gradient operators V,, we shall call h a second order Lagrangian. In general, the field equations following from such a Lagrangian will be second order equations. They will, however, be first order equations, if L satisfies the condition

ax V&q, av,q, av,q,

= 0.

Sometimes it suffices for this purpose that

ax ax av,q, avdh + avdb av,q, = 0;

for instance, if (a2L/aV,q, aVvqD) is different from scalar qm and a tensor of the second rank q,, and, depend on any q. The field equations are even always on the condition (8) alone, if we neglect gravitational


zero only for a then, does not of the first order effects, so that 1. (9)




5 2. The definition of the electric charge current-density and the conservation of charge. The Maxwellian field in empty space can be described either by the second order Lagrangian function l) L ~orw = L Maxw ( l/874 (VW

(V,W ) GV,W + i G,),

(10) (11)

or by the first order Lagrangian



(l/479 (k$?%$w ---gYv,~-

*) As usual, summation signs over tensor-undorial tion of (6), we make USC of the four-vector character property of iy, which is proved in the appendix,

indices are omitted. of j = 2 (&L/av,q,) tha? + g Vvjy = 0.

.. . For the derivaSqn.From this

it follows that./&

Further, we have assumed that L does not depend on the second covariant derivatives VxVP q of the field components. If we would admit that second order Lagrangian function may depend (linearly) on second order derivatives V,+V,q, the formulae given in the following would partly have to be replaced by more complicated ones. For instance, the definition of the canonical conjugates of the field components and the Hamiltonian function must then be changed and the canonical equations would take an unusual form.












8/L= - bp


represents the electromagnetic field (Qi,, = &, @a = Qn, etc.), while a, represents the electromagnetic potential four-vector (a0 = - %, 81 = ?&, etc.). Varying QPv and G in (1 l), we find & = V[P&] (= VP& V,$J and G = V,W. (13)

If we make use of (IO), we must regard the equations

tions of QPv and G.

(13) as defini-

The total Lagrangian

function L = bmll

now reads + Lar 8 (14

where L,,, describes the ,,material wave fields and their interactions with the Maxwellian field (and with the gravitational field). Inserting (14) with (10) or with (1 1) into (6) and putting qq G = Vp(V,q), we find for 4 ES 9:

Gild -3%


-aLnial =-&

q !W or =-

-& (V&P + VG).


The equality of the latter two members follows from (9) and (13). According to Fe r m i 1) only those physical situations can actually occur, for which the observable G has the value zero. Therefore, the left hand member of (15) can be regarded as the electric charge czwrent-density occurring in the Maxwellian epations :

where I& = p and I& = ix/c, etc., represents the electric charge density and current density. The reality of the four-vector (16) follows without the help of (15), if we assume that Jlalal is real
(just as ~Qhh$

Now, some of the field components qn may describe charged particles or quanta. Let e,, be the elementary charge of the particles at least partly described by Q,,.Then, the interaction of these charged wave fields with the Maxwellian field will be described by the fact that in the Lagrangian function (in L,,J the gradient four-vector 0, and the electromagnetic potential four-vector 2.Ioccur only in the

454 combinations *)


Dtq* {V,, (&pc) al,}q*. = +


From the fact that Lmal is a function of the gd, the qn and the Df)q, only, we now conclude that the electric charge currentdensity (16) can be written in the form of t)

If we put

i -- aL aL P c avoqn ag = n* . =
the charge density can be written as P = f (e,/iA) In the original equation Maxwellian

(184 a continuity (20)


theory j$.) (16) satisfies vv $e) = 0

on account of the Maxwellian equations (15) with G = 0 (compare also (12)). In the theory of F e r m i l) this conclusion can no longer be drawn from (15) **). On the other hand, we obtain from( 18) by means of the field equations (6) :

aL aL * VlG, & t (K enqn -av,q,enVvq*) = +

Therefore, the continuity equation (20) is still valid, if =O, (22) ta0,eQ,(-CdL) where Qn is an abbreviated notation


for the q,, and the V,q, to-

*) In current quantum theory it is always assumed that the conjugate comp!ex of q,, must be regarded as a field quantity (q,* G q(*)) describing particles with the opposite charge ) 7) : ecn*) = - e, = - P$. Then, from (17) it follows that (D$)q,)* = D!,*)q(,,*). This, however, is not essential for the following considerations. t) Here, it is essential that Ltnal does not contain terms of the form of a$GD[;2D$)qn, just as well, if VLpVvIqn = 0. lf such terms would occur, with a?:) depending on the q only, they should, therefore, be replaced by terms - (D[$*eg)n, (D$)q,). **) If the continuity equation (20) is valid all the same, we can derive from it, by (16), (I 5), (12), a second order differential equation 0 6. = 0 for the ,,F e r m i variable Q.












gether *). The left hand member of (22), which is determined, if L is given, we have called Cd L. It suffices that (22) be valid as a consequence of the field equations (6). It is easily seen that the condition (22) (to be imposed upon the Lagrangian function, if the electric charge current density is to satisfy a continuity equation), is entirely equivalent to the postulate of gauge invariance of the Lagrangian function L(Qn) under a substitution



Q&J exp

(k X(X)).

- (23)

The formulation (22), however, shows more explicity, what property of the Lagrangian function following from the postulate of gauge invariance is essential for the derivation of (20). Usually one does not only require gauge invariance of the Lagrangian function as a consequence of the field equations, but even identical gauge invariance of every term of the Lagrangian function, which is always a polynomial t) in the Q:
L = X ai ll Qni.
i nj


By identical gauge invariance we understand invariance under the substitution (23) irrespective of the field equations (6). This, again, is equivalent to requiring that (22) shall be true for each single term of the Lagrangian function : 0 = Cd ll Qni = (E e,i) . Il Qni
"i "i "i

for every i.


If this shall hold irrespective IX eni = 0


of the field equations, for every term of L.

we must have

In general, we shall call C eni the charge dimension of the term i aj II Qnj. The identical vanishing (26) of the charge dimension of

every term of the Lagrangian function, then, is a sufficient, but not necessary, condition for the validity of the continuity equation (20). The condition (26), therefore, means an extra restriction on the types
*) It is essential in (22) that e, has the same value for q,, and for its covariant derivative so

t) In (24), the indices ni belonging to a given value of j are not necessarily different, that in one term of the Lagrangian function the same factor Q may occur several times.



of Lagrangian functions which are usually admitted *). In the discussions of 5 4 we shall once make use of this limitation. From the continuity equation (20)or

follows the corresponding law of conservation for the total electric charge t) e = fff 2/-- g . I&, dnJ dx dx3, (27) x0=corut. namely (compare page 450)
g = fff a,(& 4-g) dxdx dx3 = d-7) . dx dx2 dx3 = 0. (28)

= -viJffav(j&

After quantization of the fields, this equation will mean that no elementary processes will occur, in which the created and annihilated electric charges will not compensate each other. If we assume that L satisfies the condition (26), it is also easily proved that by quantization a product IIQ of the q,, and V,q, is turned into an operator, which, operating on an eigenfunction of the operator e (27~) belonging to an eigenvalue Z, yields again an eigenfunction of e, but now belonging to the eigenvalue Z - A, where A is the charge dimension of IIQ. In other words, if (26) is satisfied **), all q-numbers will be operators ,,diminishing the total electric charge by their charge dimension. Finally we remark that, if the Lagrangian function (24) is of such kind that to the field quantities q,, some other constants g, can be conjugated, such that also z gi = 0 (2 w i is valid for every term (i) of the Lagrangian function, then also the four-vector &, defined by iftc . IL) = 2 wiw7,) gdh
hitherto made

of the

*) This restriction has proved to be possible in all applications theory. t) In the approximation (9), we find from (l&z) : n dimension

e = C e,fff(pnqnlih) (ix dy dz.

of pa (19) is (, en).



In this case, the charge












will satisfy

a continuity

equation vv IT&q 0. = cw

A corresponding conservation law is easily deduced, analogous to (27)-(28). This general theorem is of much convenience, for instance for the derivation of the law of ,,conservation of nuclons *) in the meson theory ). 0 3. The energy demity tensor and the spin angular momentum. If one assumes that the total energy of the fields described by the Lagrangian 11 is given by the Hamiltonian Jr defined in the approximation (9) by i) Jr = fff H dx dy dz, H= cp,,Cj-L, ,, (29)

one is inclined to ask, whether the venl part of the Hamiltonian function H can be regarded as the energy demity of the system considered. Actually, %{H} is the too component of a tensor **)

which, in the approximation (9), satisfies a continuity account of the field equations (6): v,v = 0, (V,P = 0).


on (31)

We shall call Y the cafzonical energy density tensor of our system. If, neglecting gravitational effects 1 t), we regard the integrals over space <J--p= fff tO dx dy dz as the total energy-momentum *)
neutron BY ,,llrlclo,l wc tlrnotc in its neutral state. the


particle, which

of the field, the conservain its chwgrd state and :I

is n proton

7) It follows from (70)-(71) that&is actually real; H, howcvcr, will Iw complrs, in genrrnl. **) The tcnsorinl charnctrr of tr (30) is provrd in the apprndis. \\c draw attention to the fart that, in one of the papers 8) rffcrrrd to in the present section, the quantities t, 7. i, Se;/), 0, 111, b, i, etc. hnvc been clrfin~d with the opposite sign. Collated with thaw pnpers d, ), the two intlicrs of quantities liltr EpLV, .SW etc. have, further, op, been intrrchangetI in the present paper, so that wr write - jb, for instance, instratl of Jr id. tt) In this approximation, it is not necessary to tliscues the qurstior:, what csprrssion shoulc1 be rcgardrd as the energy tensor of the gravitational field. On this subject, mmpart for instance \\. P a u I i, ,,Relativitltsthcoric 3), Nr. (iI, p. 742.



tion of energy and of linear momentum will be provided for, always in the approximation (9), by the continuity equations (31). However, it cannot be expected that P will represent the ,,true energy and momentum current and density ). Just as, in the case of the electric charge current and density, only the fact that the definition (18) was equivalent with the expression (16) entitled us to regard (18) as the ,,true electric charge current-density generating the Maxwellian field according to (15), we should regard, in the present case, only tlzat current-density tensor P, that generates the gravitatiolzal field, as the trzce energy tensor. It iswell known that this tensor is given by *) cSL/ = S ffff L 2/-= g dx dx dx dx3 = g dx dx dx dx3, (33)

&~,,f TA Sgd . 1/--

where 6Lr means the variation of fi caused by a variation 8gd = bg@ of the gravitational field, if all other field components q,, are left unchanged. From this definition, the energy tensor Td has recently been computed by R o s e n f e 1 d ). Here, we shall give a derivation, which seems to be a littIe shorter, though some beautiful aspects of R o s e n f e 1 d s calculation, therefore, are perhaps lacking. Since

sd-g=~~-g.g~sg/,4A=-~ andt)



the left hand member of (33) amounts to

Now, in general, the qn will be some tensor-undors. For these quantities, we shall mainly use the notation of a recent publication
*) Compare the first foot-note on page 45 I. From the assumed reality of fi and gd it follows directly that also Td is real. The analogy of (33) to (16) is obvious. t) By a/&@ we denote j(a/&@ + a/$&). If L depends explicitly on the four-leg components hS introduced in the following, the calculation is not very much more complicated.










459 .

of the author *). If we confine ourselves to ,,uniform representations of undors 4), the covariant derivative of a tensor-undor Q is given by t) [C.D. (45)] v,q = avq + r;si,:#q + fk.$,;,Okpq(37) the tensor-undorial are subjected to an

Here, S,$ and S& are operators determining transformation of q: If the world co-ordinates arbitrary infinitesimal transformation **) x = 2 + p(x);

a$ = &, - (38) and if the local frames of reference (,,foz&egs) h$, with respect to which the undors (or spinors) are defined, are rotated according to tt) hf, = h$ + 8hS; the transformation
ih$ = P,hy = iihy, (39

of q shall be given by [C.D. (19)]

aq = b$.L%$ + ~!k~i,ii&l. (40)

q = q + Q;

Now, the field of four-legs by

is related

to the gravitational


[C-D. F41

6" = gkl& hy.


If, for the sake of simplicity, we keep the gkz constant and regard the equations (41) as identities not to be affected by a variation of the gravitational field, such a variation must be attended by a variation of the ht. On the other hand, the variation of the gd can now be brought about, by means of (41), by an arbitrary variation of the h$, (which, in general, does not represent a simple rotation of the fourlegs). In the following, we shall see that, in this case, in 6~5 the variations Sh$ occur actually in the combinations ***) Sgd = hkOSh$ (42) only, just as in (33).
*) Formulae from this publication on the covariant derivative be referred to by [C.D.]. t) Compare the third foot-note on page 457. We write ?ky for ciphers over the l!k,and over the ikj shoild remind us the quantities are introduced in the theory ). They have nothing notation of S c h o u t e ns lo). **) Therefore, dxh = dxh + 6(d.&, with 6(drh) = E?~ dxP tt) If (38) and (39) are combined, the h$ are transformed ***) If, therefore, Td is defined by
c Sh = -/ T,jk 611%. +Irg dx

of tensor-undors WV,& in [C.D.].

*) will The

special way, in which these to do with the cipher in the




= h$, + EVA@,. (33a) the varia-

instead of by (33), tional principle.

the symmetry

of T,J

= TI; k II k/j follows





Now, fk,, is determined by the fact that the covariant derivative (37) of the field of four-leg components h$ vanishes [C.D. (47)], so that [C.D. (43)] V,hi Variation = &hi + l-;,hs I!~Jz;~ = 0. (43)

of the h$ yields S(V,h.f) = V,(Sh$ + h%SI;lY hi, Sfr = 0, (44)

where, in V,(Shi), we have taken together all terms arising from the variation of the explicit hi in (43), taking Shi as a quantity behaving under the transformations (38)-(39) in the same way as hi, From (44) we solve Sl!:, by inner multiplication by hfx. Substituting the result in (45) we obtain SVvqn = SF;, - S$pqn + $$p qn - hf\Vv(SM), where we have put j;j;p = safop+ 4 Klksl,kop (= si$p + s&J.

(47) The expression (46) must be inserted into (36). Now, since we have assumed that Sh$ transforms like hi,

is a four-vector *), so that the term in (36) arising from the last term of (46) can be integrated by parts (compare the foot-note on page 452) and gives rise to

- JV,(CY n sP$pqn) hiShi w aL

= s

. 4-g

G?X = &HoPqn) hkrShi . d-g dx. (49)

V,(C & n

Now, we shall make use of the fact that L is a scalar, so that under the arbitrary mfinitesimal transformation (38)-(39) it is changed by

O= = &F
*) The proof


sgph c s. sq, + n aqn

in the appendix.

+ 2 -En avvq,(V&l,

Elf.Vpq). (50)

is given










Making use of the field equations 6g4 = 4 we find

(6) and inserting + &IL s EW,

(40) and *) (51)

+ v"ct aL avVq,(~~~%~,op+
Here, P is antisymmetrical so that we obtain

:IR&,op) qJ.


[C.D. (12)]. For the rest, gzkis arbitrary,

Therefore, it is allowed to symmetrize the integrand of (49) with respect to p and A. Then, by (42), the explicit variations of the fourleg components can be eliminated entirely from (36)-(46)-(49). From (52) we also get

+ avvq, agpx n av,q, gv~vPq~ vv(T .-!f?- ~pA,o,q,)


= 0.


From this equation we can calculate the aL/agd occurring in the first term of (36). Substituting also this result in (36), we finally obtain



where we have combined the terms arising from (49) and from (54) by means of (47) and where we have put
tpA=L&A-n & Y gAv,qn



Still U~, remains to be calculated. of the vanishing of vvgpx = avgpA*) Compare [C.D. (15)]. t) The tensor character of .?i;I is proved

For this purpose we make use gpd3b = 0,


in the appendix.



so that, if we take Sg,x as a quantity


like g+

wgpd = w&A) - gpIpW}v = 0. (58) In a similar way as I;, is calculated from (57) (compare [CD. (36)]), we obtain SI$ from (58) : sr;l, = g gp (v{,sg PIP- v,s&J Since gP,,gPo= SF is not varied, we have
S& = g/Lpg,, sgp *



After substitution of (59) into (55) and integration by parts of the terms with V,Sg,, etc., we can insert (60), so that (33) can be written in the form of
/ TpASgpX. 1/= /{(tpj g dx = + V,(J& + V&J

& -


Sg@ . d--g

dx. (61) of

Now, T,A is equal to the synznzetrical part of the coefficient Sgp in the integrand :
Tti = TAP.

The first expression between brackets ( ) in the right hand member of (61) is already symmetrical in p and A, on account of (53) and the antisymmetrical part of (54); the second expression between brackets, however, must still be symmetrized. Doing so, we obtain Td = &A + V&i or, if we put
+v = #4V.

4 $x,$ + Q W,j

4 sY{,&,



= .g$PJ + SPA +. ,+P); ; aI\ = mzc{WA},

@J E v,fc\; (64)

ipv = Se {+}

we find (compare the first foot-note on page 458) TPA = td + @PA= trA + @A.


Thus, the ,,symmetrical OYJotal energy density tensor Tg can be expressed by (30), (56), (64), (65) d irectly. in terms of the field components q and their derivatives, ij the Lagrangian function L is given.

These expressions were already indicated and discussed in a previous paper of the author *). We remark that the tensor /d defined by (64) satisfies the important relations

f4 = - f&V


f W~l











463 eq&(68)

On account of (66), the tensor OpX (64) satisfies a continuity tion in the a#~roximation (9): v@ = 0. From (31) and (68) follows the continuity energy tensor: VA TpA = 0. equation

for the total

It is well known that this contuinity equation gravitational effects are taken into account. The total energy and the total linear momentum now be given, instead of by (32), by
J ==i-f--rg

(69) remains valid even, if of the fields will


Tc dx dx dx3.

If to these expressions the energy and momentum of the gravitational field is added, we obtain a four-vector, for which a law of conservation exists *). We remark that, in the approximation (9), the expressions (70) and (32) are identical, as, by (64) and (66), the contributions of the densities CY to the total energy and the total linear momentum vanish in this approximation:
fff W dx dy dz = 0. (71)

The Hamiltonian (29) can, therefore, actually be regarded as the total energy (see- (65)). Always neglecting gravitational effects, we can regard the moment of tp with respect to the origin as the orbital angular momentum density and that of @Oas the s@+zangular momentum density ) ) : g+J = xI+l~ JJ$PV &4~) = (72) The total angular momentum
xIh TPI _ -1

density tensor is then given by

&v = ,+ + $P (73)

On account of (69), (62), (9) it satisfies a continuity V,+~ = 0. Finally, the total orbital angular momentum momentum
d.z = c l//r = fff (n&/c) dx dy dz,

equation (74) by

is determined

while the total spin angular integration by parts :

can be calculated

by an (76)

&GAP= (&/c) dx dy fff

*) Compare the fourth foot-note

fff (iApo/c) dy dx

on page 457.



For this reason, the tensor 1PLY was called the ,,spin integrand ). According to its definition. (64), (56), it does not depend tensor * on the point of reference, with respect to which all moments are taken; therefore, also the total spin angular momentum Sxp possesses this characteristic property that it does not depend on the point of reference, though it is the integral over space of an ordinary moment of momentum density s&O. 3 4. Discussion of the influence of an ambiguity always existing in the Lagrangian function. We have seen that all quantities thus far derived, such as $, (18), Jr (29), P (30), fp (64), 04 (64), Tg (65), ,P VO)Jrnp (72), & (72), ip (73), J%I~~ (75) and S@ (76), can be expressed with the help of the Lagrangian function L. Now, it must be remarked that L is not unambiguously determined, if the total Lagrangian Lr is given. To L we may add any scalar function of the field components g 4 and q,, and their covariant derivatives V,,q,, , the integral of which over space and time (according to (2)) vanishes identically, if surface integrals are disregarded (see $ 1). Hence, one may add the four-dimensional divergence E of a fourvector A depending on these quantities :

E = VA = t 1%

V%l + $&


+ . . . . >.


Since V,,gd = 0, the dependence of A on gd is of no interest, here, and we shall no longer mention this dependence in the following discussion. Expanding A as a function of the covariant derivatives of the field components q,., in powers of the gradient operators V,, we conclude from (77) that terms in A containing n factors V can give rise only to terms containing (n + 1) factors V in 1. Therefore, if, e shall. IcI,a!1.1 be of the nL degree *) in V, the n and higher powers of V possibly occurring in A must not contribute anything to 1 and they can, therefore, be omitted without damaging the universality of the expression (77). This means that, so far as we consider first order Lagrangians, A can be restricted to functions of the qn only: A = A(q);
*) Here, 16 can take the values 1 and 2: See 0 1.

CIA avhq,=












while for second order Lagrangians it always suffices to conside; functions A(q, Vq) which are linear in the Vq: A = A(q, Vq); a2A

avAqn av,4,=



Further, L (and, therefore, 1 too) should not depend on derivatives of the second and higher order. This means that (77) should always take the simpler form .
I(q, Vq) z lx aA: n vq) vq,. n

In general! therefore, A should be a function of the (g\p and the) q,, only (78). Sometimes, however, the condition (78) is not essential for this purpose, and it suffices to require (compare (7)-(8)) aA awn aAX +-= o *


This is always the case, if gravitational effects are neglected (9). Combining our results, we find for A in (77) and (80) the restriction (78) in the case of first order Lagrangians, while for second order Lagrangians this condition on A is replaced - at least, if gravitational effects are neglected -by (79) together with (81). Now, there are mainly two questions one may ask: (1) If the total Lagrangian and, thus, the field equations are completely given, are the definitions of the quantities mentioned at the beginning of this section then not affected by the ambiguity (80) in the Lagrangian function L? And (2) : If Lr is given only so far as the interactions of the ,,materia.l fields with the Maxwellian and with the gravitational field are neglected, is it then possible to derive these neglected interactions afterwards, by changing aVqn into Dp)q, in the Lagrangian function whereever it occurs, or does this procedure not lead to an unambiguous result, as a consequence of the remaining uncertainty in L ? The first question is of fundamental significance, because it can hardly be assumed that the quantities of 5 2-3 have any physical meaning at all, if they are not uniquely given by their definitions. On the other hand, the second question is of practical importance, since it tells us, for instance, whether it is possible to predict, on the basis of theoretical arguments, the value of the charge density of a
Physica VII 30



field (by (18)), 1 It s interaction with the electromagnetic field is not f given, or to calculate (by (30),. (56), (64), (65)) the energy density of a field, if we do not know its laws of gravitation. As regards the electric charge current-density: the first question is easily answered, for it is plain that, so long as nothing is added to A, the expression (16) for II, is not affected. - It is another question, of course, whether (18) remains true; this depends on whether 1 will be restricted, just as L in 5 2, to scalars that depend on the V,q, and %, only in the combinations D!.!)q, ( 17). Let us now consider the second question.. We shall assume that the total Lagrangian is given with certainty only z&hout the terms containing glI, describing the interaction of the ;,material fields with the Maxwellian field, but that the Lagrangian function L(q, Vq) is completed afterwards by a change of all V,q, into D$)q, . In L(q, Vq), however, a divergence e(q, Vq) (80) remains undetermined. This leads to an uncertainty *)

in the final expression for L(q, Dq). Since this expression may no longer be the divergence of a four-vector, this can cause an uncertainty in the total Lagrangian and, therefore, also in the electric charge current and density. Now, in $ 2 we have required that the Lagrangian function L, containing the Vdn and %, only in the combinations (17), willsatisfy the condition Cd L = 0 (22), at least as a consequence of the field equations. Then, however, also in (82) only such four-vectors A should be admitted, that satisfy not only (78) or (79), (81), but also the condition Cd1 If, like in $ 2, we postulate = 0. (83)

that (22) shall be satisfied identically

for eack single term of L, we must postulate the same for 1 in (83).
Then, however, we can confine ourselves, without damaging the universality of (82), to four-vectors A of vanishing charge dimension. This is easily seen, if in A we collect all terms of equal charge
*) WC remark second foot-note that ,?(q, Dqj on page 454. (82) does not depend on the















dimension. By (82), such terms can give rise only to terms of this same charge dimension in 1, so that they should not contribute anything to 1, so far as this charge dimension does not vanish. Then, however, we can safely omit these terms from A from the beginning, and A is actually restricted to expressions satisfying Cd A = 0..

Returning now to our problem, we shall discuss the cases of first order and of second order Lagrangians separately. For the former, the A occurring in (82) is restricted to four-vectors satisfying (78). The contribution of E(q, Dq) (82) to ~7~~ then amounts to

so that it vanishes by (84), if L (and, therefore, 1 too) is to satisfy (26). In other words, there is no uncertainty at all *) in jre, and, in the case of first order Lagrangians, the electric charge current and density can be predicted on the groacnd of the assumptions (17) and (26) alone, if the electromagnetic interaction terms in Lr are not from the beginning known with certainty. For second order Lagrangians, however, this is no longer the case. The four-vector A is now restricted by (79), (81) t), instead of by (78), so that (85) is replaced by a more complicated expression, which does not vanish by (84). In this case, therefore, it is impossible to predict the electric charge current-density with certainty, on the basis of ( 17) and (26) alone **). Now, we proceed to the discussion of the quantities of $ 3. In general, the addition of 1 (80) to the Lagrangian function will alter the canonically conjugated momenta defined by (19) and will change the value of the Hamiltonian function H (29). Therefore, one cannot energy density tensor tp expect that the ,,canonical or ,,orbital
*) If Arsatisfies (78), the condition (84) actually makes i(q, Dq) (82) identical with the divergence z(q, Vq) (80). t) At least, if gravitational effects are neglected (9). Otherwise, (78) is replaced by the discussion of (8). (79), (81) only in so far as VLvVA,q,, = 0. Compare **) In the case of the D i r a c electron, fcr instance, one can obtain in this way as well as lrc, = ie$tPyrQ. The first expression is obtained 76, = %e((eA/inrc)~t~Vv~} from a second order Lagrangian describing a particle with a non-vanishing spin angular momentum but without a magnetic moment. Compare F. J. B e 1 i n f a n t e, lot. cit. ), page 54.



(30) will in general be left unchanged *), and this energy tensor can hardly be assumed to have a distinct physical meaning. On the other hand, the ,,total energy density tensor T,J, being defined by the variational equation (33), is not changed so long as Ir remains unaltered, so that Td and, therefore, the integrals ,p (70) are uniquely given by ~5. It must be emphasized, however, that then even the terms in Lc describing gravitational effects should not be altered (see below). Since P could be affected by a change 1 of the ,Lagrangian function, also t) mA~uand the tensors W (= Tp" - U) and t) $f cannot be expected to remain always unchanged. On the other hand, with Tp' also ix (73) will keep its original value and, therefore, the total angular momentum Jxp = fff jQ%x dy dz = An/l+ f SAP (86) will be left unaltered. The behaviour of the tensors t) i@, SAP and ,MAp can be found by a straightforward calculation. Let 1 = V,A be added to L, where we shall first restrict ourselves to four-vector functions of the Q,, alone (78). For first order Lagrangians, this limitation was justified. The expressions added in this way to td, SAP, etc. we shall denote by a bar (t SAP, etc.). Then, we find (compare (30), (78), (80)) : -4,




VPq, = z$) v,q, = V,A[gXY (87)

= c gdaAV -gP n ( %

*) It must be borne in mind, however, that the tensors WV, ix!-, c%I . . . defined in 5 3, being the real parfs of certain expressions containing L, are not affected so long as only a purely intaginary scalar I. is added to I.. Let, for instance, some terms occurring in the Lngrangian function be integrated by parts. The rluantity thus added to I. can often be written in the form of L = V,{c (8L/aVvqn)qn}, where 8 means a summation over the components qn of one or more tensor-undors. Each of these tensor-undors belongs tb the field of one single type of elementary particles and the corresponding expression C(X/aVvq,)qn represents, but for a purely imaginary factor (e,/iRc), a part of the electric charge current-density of these particles. Now, the tot& electric charge of these particles must be real (see (15)-( 16)). Hence, one might expect that L will be purely imaginary in this case. For second order Lagrangians, however, this conclusion is not right. On the other hand in general, z actually happens to be purely imaginary in the case of integration by parts of terms occurring in a /irst order Lagrangian. If, therefore, we claim that also by a first order Lagrangian a quantity like tP is not uniquely determined, we mean that L might be altered in another way than merely by an integration by parts of its terms in Ir (2). 7) It will be understood that, here, we mean tensors with respect to the transformations of the special relativity theory only.












The contribution

(see (56) and (78,) (80))

to sxpVcan easily be computed, if we observe that under a transformation (38)-(39) the quantity A transforms as a four-vector:
6A = &+A? (89) qn trans-

On the other hand, A is a function of the field components forming according to (40), so that *)

The coefficients of .EA~and of grhPl in (90) must be equal to those in (89). Thus we find


From (88), (47), (91) and (92) we obtain in this way ;h = &/I, so that, by (64),


Erom.(6$) and (95) it follows that TpA = 0, indeed. If, now, the curvature of the world is neglected, the integral of TAP0 over space can be regarded, by (76), as the spin angular momentum of the fields. In this approximation (9), however, we have chosen g p = 0 for lo # 0 (5), so that from (64) and (93) we find in this case that TAP0 vanishes, if both A and p are different from 0:
j230 *) The Latin indices means of [C.D. (4)-(7)]. = r310 = r120 = 0. indices, (96) by

in (90) by Greek of g and Sip have been replaced Then, from [C.D. (12)] it follows that ;A, = - $A.



Thus we obtain for the contribution of the spin angular mome.ntum :

323 = s31 =

of e to the sfialial components

92 = 0 (97)

Since, finally, nothing was added to J@ (86), we conclude from (97) that also
,i\r123 = A731 = @2 = 0


From (97)-(98) we see that, for first order Lagrangians, the s$atial components of the total orbital angular momentum ,41p and of the total spin angular momentum Sh are uniquely,determined so long as we keep the total Lagrangian Ii unaltered. Also the spatial density components of the spin integrand tensor are then unambiguously given (see (96)). This is not the case, however, for the spin angular momentum density 8b or for the orbital angular momentum density mp. (This follows directly from (72) with (87) and (95)). The restriction (78) of A to functions of the q,, alone is no longer always justified, if we consider second order Lagrangians: in this case, sometimes only the conditions (79) and (81) were to be imposed. If we perform the calculations analogous to (87)-(98) for this more complicated case, we come to the conclusion that in general the spatial components of 1hpo, $@ and ,%b will no longer vanish *). Therefore, the splitting up of the total angular momentum into a spin angular momentum and an orbital angular momentum is in general not unambiguoz&y determined by the formulae (even in an amrelativistic approximation), if the fields are described by a second order (and not by a first order) Lagrangian t). The total energy tensor Tp, and the quantities ,pp, ix and J xp derived from it, are, of course, not affected, so long as the total Lagrangian Ii is not changed. Let us now consider the second question put forward on page 465. Suppose that A is given with certainty in the approximation (9) only, so that interactions with the gravitational field can be introduced only afterwards, by regarding further V,,, whereever it occurs in the Lagrangian function, as the true covariant derivation (37) instead of
S where PCl is an anti*) For instance, if to L we add z = VvAV with A = FWV symmetrical tensor and S is a scalar, the spatial components ofp/iO P arc changed even in 1 the approximation (9) and we find, in this approximation,

s,, = %e {J//S(V,F,, t) To this result we alluded, when, Lagrangians has some advantage.

- VsF,,) dx dy ctz}, etc. in 5 1, we meniioned that the

use of first













as a, (9). If we are considering first order Lagrangians, the uncertainty in the Lagrangian function thus obtained amounts to the divergence of a four-vector A restricted by the condition (78) again, and the calculations (87)-(98) remain valid. Therefore, if the f i Y s t
o I d e Y L a g r a FZg i a n of a system is given withod the electromagnetic interaction terms and only in the a$proximaton (9), that is, also without gravitational interaction terms, the quantities I&, Tp, J+, jhpv, Jp and the s p a t i a 1 components of taco, SAP and .Uxp

(with A # 0, lo # 0) are - always under assumption of ( 17), (26) and (37) - unambiguously given all the same; the latter expressions, of course, with neglect of the effects of the curvature of the world. In the case of second order Lagrangians, on the other hand, the four-vector A occurring in (80) is now always restricted by (79) and (81) only, so that, after the change from (9) to (37), the expression (80) may no longer be the divergence of a four-vector (viz., if V,,Vh,q, # 0). Hence, it is now possible that, by (80), some relativistic terms in LI will remain uncertain, so that not only SxI*, etc., but.even the values of the tensors Tp, i@, etc. will no longer be unambiguously given. The ambiguity in these quantities actually resulting from the uncertainty (80) in L can be computed in the same way as for first order Lagrangians has been done in (87)-(98). The calculations are now a little more complicated. Malting use of the properties (79) and (81) of A(q, Vq) (instead of of (78) as in (87)-(98)) and putting
at),, = ai)e =

aAqavXq, ;
Hfi)vhP = gp a$, + g.pPa& + gp a$, (99)

HcrPx = -

CP n = q = +$I, t .

KPApv = -

KP@ = 4 Z (a$, cp + afij & + a& c$),

( 100)

we find

Tpv = f H@P V,$,q,



It is easily seen that the first term of (101) vanishes in the approximation (9). The second term, however, will in general not vanish, even if we neglect gravitational effects (9) *). In other words, the
*) If, for instance, we

put A

= B[

VA Ehl in (EO), we find BrP,Pl h3h.




= -



consequence of an addition of ,,relativistic terms to the total Lagrangian L (by (80) with (81)) is an addition of ,,un.reZativistic terms not only to the spin angular momentum (see the first foot-note on page 47C), but even. to the total energy density tensor Tp and, thus, to the total angular momenttim current and density 1. (By ,,relativistic we understand here terms, which vanish in the approximation (9)). Therefore, if a s e c o n d o I d e I L a g Y a n g i a n is only given with neglect of gravitational effects (as this is usually the case!), all these quantities are not unambiguoz&y determined (compare the result obtained on page 467) *). It must be remarked, however, that, at least in the approximation (9), the total energy and momentum J (70) and the total angular momentum J7p (86) remain well-defined, since from (101) it is easily seen, by pbm = 0 > KPV = I), (102)

that J)p and yAp vanish in this approximation. APPENDIX In the foregoing, we have tensor character of expressions made use several times of the such as j = C(aL/aVvqn)q,, or = (18) and the foot-note on page

= IZ(i3L/ZW,,qn)SqI, (compare formula 45;), 7; = IY(8L/ZW,q,)V,q,

(compare (30)), oip = IY(aL/aV&~~~fiq.

(compare i48) and (56); $$$ denotes either Sk, or S,$,), etc. Here L is a scalar function of the q and the Vq and the summations Z over n are carried out over one or several sets of field components, which under the transformations (38)-(40) transform only among each other. For imtance, C may be a summation over all field components describing one single species of elementary particles, (with a certain charge e), like in (18). The proof of the tensor character of these expressions j, $, Gip, etc. -in general lY(aL/aVYqJQql, will now be given. Let a transformation (38)-(39) be applied to the co-ordinates and the four-legs. According to (40), the field components q,, will then transform linearly into qD, = qn + 8qn, by Q5rl = x %q*, n
*) Also to this result we alluded in 0 I.













where .S::, are the matrix

clemcnts of the operator (&%p + W&). to

Then, V,y,,, transforms


qLY,n = or, since E(~, .S::, and

qL~lqlll i- II Sf:,V,y I 11 V,q,,) are infinitesimal, x s::,v,rq,,#. II

(104) (105) (106)

(VPj(I,,,, -

vpy,,, = vpy,, Inserting

+ EI(pvylyn,r-

this esprcssion into

we obtain

Let now G be some tensor operator 1, S, V,,, .S,$,, or .?,$,, (compare [C.D. (17)-( that, if we put WY) such as for instance 18n) and (26)]) -, so (108)

= (-lQ)q,, + c .Y:lQq,,, , 111

the infinitesimal transformation Q --f Q + IQ is an ordinary tensor transformation. The last term of (108) represents the transformation of Qq,, in the cast of a SC&~ operator Q, so that (AG)q,, is the contribution to s(Qq,,) due to the extra tensor indices, which Q may possess (in addition to possible operational indices n, r, if Qq,, = I: Q:,qJ. Now,rfronl (107)

(108) it follows that

Here, 1 denotes a summation

over some sets of field components

transforming only among each other and not together with other field components. Therefore, both .S::land S::, vanish, if II belongs to this set of field components and m does not, so that the summation with respect to m can be limited to a summation over this same set












of field components without changing the value of (109). Then, however, the last two terms of (109) are identical but of opposite sign, and only the first two terms are left. Thus, (109) changes exactly into the transformation law for a tensor with one more contravariant tensor index than the tensor operator !2 possesses (besides possible operational indices).
Received March 29th, 1940.

REFERENCES 1) E. Fermi, Rev. mod. Phys. r, 87, 1932. 2) F. J. Belinfante , ,,Theory of Heavy Quanta (thesis Leiden 1939), 5 3-4, M. Nijhoff, The Hague, 1939. 3) W. P au 1 i, Enzykl. math. Wiss. 5/t, (Art. 19), 539, 1920. (In particular IV, page 701). 4) F. J. B e 1 in f a n t e, Physica 7, 305, 1940. 5) B. L. v a n d e r W a e r d e n, GGttinger Nachr. IlK.?lt, 100. 6) 7) 8) 9) 10) F. J. B e 1 i n f a n t e, F. J. B e 1 i n f a n t e, F. J. B e 1 in f a n t e, L. Rosenfeld , ,,Sw 1940, (in tke press). J. A. S c h o II t e n, J. Physica 0, 849, 1939. Physica 0,870, 1939. Physica 0,887, 1939. lc terrseur diln~ulsiolz-C/1ergiE, Math. Phys. 10, 239, 1931.

chap. Abschu.






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