## Progressing towards coordinate free form of the Euler-Lagrange equations for Maxwell’s equation

This is the 6th part of a series on finding Maxwell’s equations (including the fictitious magnetic sources that are useful in engineering) from a multivector Lagrangian representation.

[Click here for a PDF version of this series of posts, up to and including this one.]  The first, second, third, fourth, and fifth parts are also available here on this blog.

We managed to find Maxwell’s equation in it’s STA form by variation of a multivector Lagrangian, with respect to a four-vector field (the potential). That approach differed from the usual variation with respect to the coordinates of that four-vector, or the use of the Euler-Lagrange equations with respect to those coordinates.

### Euler-Lagrange equations.

Having done so, an immediate question is whether we can express the Euler-Lagrange equations with respect to the four-potential in it’s entirety, instead of the coordinates of that vector. I have some intuition about how to completely avoid that use of coordinates, but first we can get part way there.

Consider a general Lagrangian, dependent on a field $$A$$ and all it’s derivatives $$\partial_\mu A$$
\label{eqn:fsquared:1180}
\LL = \LL( A, \partial_\mu A ).

The variational principle requires
\label{eqn:fsquared:1200}
0 = \delta S = \int d^4 x \delta \LL( A, \partial_\mu A ).

That variation can be expressed as a limiting parametric operation as follows
\label{eqn:fsquared:1220}
\delta S
= \int d^4 x
\lr{
\lim_{t \rightarrow 0} \ddt{} \LL( A + t \delta A )
+
\sum_\mu
\lim_{t \rightarrow 0} \ddt{} \LL( \partial_\mu A + t \delta \partial_\mu A )
}

We eventually want a coordinate free expression for the variation, but we’ll use them to get there. We can expand the first derivative by chain rule as
\label{eqn:fsquared:1240}
\begin{aligned}
\lim_{t \rightarrow 0} \ddt{} \LL( A + t \delta A )
&=
\lim_{t \rightarrow 0} \PD{(A^\alpha + t \delta A^\alpha)}{\LL} \PD{t}{}(A^\alpha + t \delta A^\alpha) \\
&=
\PD{A^\alpha}{\LL} \delta A^\alpha.
\end{aligned}

This has the structure of a directional derivative $$A$$. In particular, let
\label{eqn:fsquared:1260}

so we have
\label{eqn:fsquared:1280}
\lim_{t \rightarrow 0} \ddt{} \LL( A + t \delta A )

Similarly,
\label{eqn:fsquared:1300}
\lim_{t \rightarrow 0} \ddt{} \LL( \partial_\mu A + t \delta \partial_\mu A )
=
\PD{(\partial_\mu A^\alpha)}{\LL} \delta \partial_\mu A^\alpha,

so we can define a gradient with respect to each of the derivatives of $$A$$ as
\label{eqn:fsquared:1320}
\grad_{\partial_\mu A} = \gamma^\alpha \PD{(\partial_\mu A^\alpha)}{}.

Our variation can now be expressed in a somewhat coordinate free form
\label{eqn:fsquared:1340}
\delta S = \int d^4 x \lr{
\lr{\delta A \cdot \grad_A} \LL + \lr{ \lr{\delta \partial_\mu A} \cdot \grad_{\partial_\mu A} } \LL
}.

We now sum implicitly over pairs of indexes $$\mu$$ (i.e. we are treating $$\grad_{\partial_\mu A}$$ as an upper index entity). We can now proceed with our chain rule expansion
\label{eqn:fsquared:1360}
\begin{aligned}
\delta S
&= \int d^4 x \lr{
\lr{\delta A \cdot \grad_A} \LL + \lr{ \lr{\delta \partial_\mu A} \cdot \grad_{\partial_\mu A} } \LL
} \\
&= \int d^4 x \lr{
\lr{\delta A \cdot \grad_A} \LL + \lr{ \lr{\partial_\mu \delta A} \cdot \grad_{\partial_\mu A} } \LL
} \\
&= \int d^4 x \lr{
+ \partial_\mu \lr{ \lr{ \delta A \cdot \grad_{\partial_\mu A} } \LL }
– \lr{\PD{x^\mu}{} \delta A \cdot \grad_{\partial_\mu A} \LL}_{\delta A}
}.
\end{aligned}

As usual, we kill off the boundary term, by insisting that $$\delta A = 0$$ on the boundary, leaving us with a four-vector form of the field Euler-Lagrange equations
\label{eqn:fsquared:1380}
\lr{\delta A \cdot \grad_A} \LL = \lr{\PD{x^\mu}{} \delta A \cdot \grad_{\partial_\mu A} \LL}_{\delta A},

where the RHS derivatives are taken with $$\delta A$$ held fixed. We seek solutions of this equation that hold for all variations $$\delta A$$.

### Application to the Maxwell Lagrangian.

For the Maxwell application we need a few helper calculations. The first, given a multivector $$B$$, is
\label{eqn:fsquared:1400}
\begin{aligned}
\lr{ \delta A \cdot \grad_A } A B
&=
\delta A^\alpha \PD{A^\alpha}{} \gamma_\beta A^\beta B \\
&=
\delta A^\alpha \gamma_\alpha B \\
&=
\lr{ \delta A } B.
\end{aligned}

Now let’s compute, for multivector $$B$$
\label{eqn:fsquared:1420}
\begin{aligned}
\lr{ \delta A \cdot \grad_{\partial_\mu A} } B F
&=
\delta A^\alpha \PD{(\partial_\mu A^\alpha)} B \lr{ \gamma^\beta \wedge \partial_\beta \lr{ \gamma_\pi A^\pi } } \\
&=
\delta A^\alpha B \lr{ \gamma^\mu \wedge \gamma_\alpha } \\
&=
B \lr{ \gamma^\mu \wedge \delta A }.
\end{aligned}

Our Lagrangian is
\label{eqn:fsquared:1440}
\LL = \inv{2} F^2 – \gpgrade{A \lr{ J – I M } }{0,4},

so
\label{eqn:fsquared:1460}
=
-\gpgrade{ \lr{ \delta A } \lr{ J – I M } }{0,4},

and
\label{eqn:fsquared:1480}
\begin{aligned}
\lr{ \delta A \cdot \grad_{\partial_\mu A} } \inv{2} F^2
&=
\inv{2} \lr{ F \lr{ \gamma^\mu \wedge \delta A } + \lr{ \gamma^\mu \wedge \delta A } F } \\
&=
\lr{ \gamma^\mu \wedge \delta A } F
}{0,4} \\
&=
\lr{ \delta A \wedge \gamma^\mu } F
}{0,4} \\
&=
\delta A \gamma^\mu F

\lr{ \delta A \cdot \gamma^\mu } F
}{0,4} \\
&=
\delta A \gamma^\mu F
}{0,4}.
\end{aligned}

Taking derivatives (holding $$\delta A$$ fixed), we have
\label{eqn:fsquared:1500}
\begin{aligned}
-\gpgrade{ \lr{ \delta A } \lr{ J – I M } }{0,4}
&=
\delta A \partial_\mu \gamma^\mu F
}{0,4} \\
&=
}{0,4}.
\end{aligned}

We’ve already seen that the solution can be expressed without grade selection as
\label{eqn:fsquared:1520}
\grad F = \lr{ J – I M },

which is Maxwell’s equation in it’s STA form. It’s not clear that this is really any less work, but it’s a step towards a coordinate free evaluation of the Maxwell Lagrangian (at least not having to use the coordinates $$A^\mu$$ as we have to do in the tensor formalism.)

## Gauge freedom and four-potentials in the STA form of Maxwell’s equation.

[If mathjax doesn’t display properly for you, click here for a PDF of this post]

## Motivation.

In a recent video on the tensor structure of Maxwell’s equation, I made a little side trip down the road of potential solutions and gauge transformations. I thought that was worth writing up in text form.

The initial point of that side trip was just to point out that the Faraday tensor can be expressed in terms of four potential coordinates
\label{eqn:gaugeFreedomAndPotentialsMaxwell:20}
F_{\mu\nu} = \partial_\mu A_\nu – \partial_\nu A_\mu,

but before I got there I tried to motivate this. In this post, I’ll outline the same ideas.

## STA representation of Maxwell’s equation.

We’d gone through the work to show that Maxwell’s equation has the STA form
\label{eqn:gaugeFreedomAndPotentialsMaxwell:40}

This is a deceptively compact representation, as it requires all of the following definitions
\label{eqn:gaugeFreedomAndPotentialsMaxwell:60}
\grad = \gamma^\mu \partial_\mu = \gamma_\mu \partial^\mu,

\label{eqn:gaugeFreedomAndPotentialsMaxwell:80}
\partial_\mu = \PD{x^\mu}{},

\label{eqn:gaugeFreedomAndPotentialsMaxwell:100}
\gamma^\mu \cdot \gamma_\nu = {\delta^\mu}_\nu,

\label{eqn:gaugeFreedomAndPotentialsMaxwell:160}
\gamma_\mu \cdot \gamma_\nu = g_{\mu\nu},

\label{eqn:gaugeFreedomAndPotentialsMaxwell:120}
\begin{aligned}
F
&= \BE + I c \BB \\
&= -E^k \gamma^k \gamma^0 – \inv{2} c B^r \gamma^s \gamma^t \epsilon^{r s t} \\
&= \inv{2} \gamma^{\mu} \wedge \gamma^{\nu} F_{\mu\nu},
\end{aligned}

and
\label{eqn:gaugeFreedomAndPotentialsMaxwell:140}
\begin{aligned}
J &= \gamma_\mu J^\mu \\
J^\mu &= \frac{\rho}{\epsilon} \gamma_0 + \eta (\BJ \cdot \Be_k).
\end{aligned}

## Four-potentials in the STA representation.

In order to find the tensor form of Maxwell’s equation (starting from the STA representation), we first split the equation into two, since
\label{eqn:gaugeFreedomAndPotentialsMaxwell:180}

The dot product is a four-vector, the wedge term is a trivector, and the current is a four-vector, so we have one grade-1 equation and one grade-3 equation
\label{eqn:gaugeFreedomAndPotentialsMaxwell:200}
\begin{aligned}
\grad \cdot F &= J \\
\end{aligned}

The potential comes into the mix, since the curl equation above means that $$F$$ necessarily can be written as the curl of some four-vector
\label{eqn:gaugeFreedomAndPotentialsMaxwell:220}

One justification of this is that $$a \wedge (a \wedge b) = 0$$, for any vectors $$a, b$$. Expanding such a double-curl out in coordinates is also worthwhile
\label{eqn:gaugeFreedomAndPotentialsMaxwell:240}
\begin{aligned}
&=
\lr{ \gamma_\mu \partial^\mu }
\wedge
\lr{ \gamma_\nu \partial^\nu }
\wedge
A \\
&=
\gamma^\mu \wedge \gamma^\nu \wedge \lr{ \partial_\mu \partial_\nu A }.
\end{aligned}

Provided we have equality of mixed partials, this is a product of an antisymmetric factor and a symmetric factor, so the full sum is zero.

Things get interesting if one imposes a $$\grad \cdot A = \partial_\mu A^\mu = 0$$ constraint on the potential. If we do so, then
\label{eqn:gaugeFreedomAndPotentialsMaxwell:260}

Observe that $$\grad^2$$ is the wave equation operator (often written as a square-box symbol.) That is
\label{eqn:gaugeFreedomAndPotentialsMaxwell:280}
\begin{aligned}
&= \partial^\mu \partial_\mu \\
&= \partial_0 \partial_0
– \partial_1 \partial_1
– \partial_2 \partial_2
– \partial_3 \partial_3 \\
\end{aligned}

This is also an operator for which the Green’s function is well known ([1]), which means that we can immediately write the solutions
\label{eqn:gaugeFreedomAndPotentialsMaxwell:300}
A(x) = \int G(x,x’) J(x’) d^4 x’.

However, we have no a-priori guarantee that such a solution has zero divergence. We can fix that by making a gauge transformation of the form
\label{eqn:gaugeFreedomAndPotentialsMaxwell:320}
A \rightarrow A – \grad \chi.

Observe that such a transformation does not change the electromagnetic field
\label{eqn:gaugeFreedomAndPotentialsMaxwell:340}

since
\label{eqn:gaugeFreedomAndPotentialsMaxwell:360}

(also by equality of mixed partials.) Suppose that $$\tilde{A}$$ is a solution of $$\grad^2 \tilde{A} = J$$, and $$\tilde{A} = A + \grad \chi$$, where $$A$$ is a zero divergence field to be determined, then
\label{eqn:gaugeFreedomAndPotentialsMaxwell:380}
=

or
\label{eqn:gaugeFreedomAndPotentialsMaxwell:400}

So if $$\tilde{A}$$ does not have zero divergence, we can find a $$\chi$$
\label{eqn:gaugeFreedomAndPotentialsMaxwell:420}
\chi(x) = \int G(x,x’) \grad’ \cdot \tilde{A}(x’) d^4 x’,

so that $$A = \tilde{A} – \grad \chi$$ does have zero divergence.

# References

[1] JD Jackson. Classical Electrodynamics. John Wiley and Sons, 2nd edition, 1975.

## More satisfying editing of classical mechanics notes.

I’ve purged about 30 pages of material related to field Lagrangian densities and Maxwell’s equation, replacing it with about 8 pages of new less incoherent material.

As before, I’ve physically ripped out all the pages that have been replaced, which is satisfying, and makes it easier to see what is left to review.

The new version is now reduced to 333 pages, close to a 100 page reduction from the original mess.  I may print myself a new physical copy, as I’ve moved things around so much that I have to search the latex to figure out where to make changes.

## Maxwell’s equation Lagrangian (geometric algebra and tensor formalism)

Maxwell’s equation using geometric algebra Lagrangian.

## Motivation.

In my classical mechanics notes, I’ve got computations of Maxwell’s equation (singular in it’s geometric algebra form) from a Lagrangian in various ways (using a tensor, scalar and multivector Lagrangians), but all of these seem more convoluted than they should be.
Here we do this from scratch, starting with the action principle for field variables, covering:

• Derivation of the relativistic form of the Euler-Lagrange field equations from the covariant form of the action,
• Derivation of Maxwell’s equation (in it’s STA form) from the Maxwell Lagrangian,
• Relationship of the STA Maxwell Lagrangian to the tensor equivalent,
• Relationship of the STA form of Maxwell’s equation to it’s tensor equivalents,
• Relationship of the STA Maxwell’s equation to it’s conventional Gibbs form.
• Show that we may use a multivector valued Lagrangian with all of $$F^2$$, not just the scalar part.

It is assumed that the reader is thoroughly familiar with the STA formalism, and if that is not the case, there is no better reference than [1].

## Theorem 1.1: Relativistic Euler-Lagrange field equations.

Let $$\phi \rightarrow \phi + \delta \phi$$ be any variation of the field, such that the variation
$$\delta \phi = 0$$ vanishes at the boundaries of the action integral
\label{eqn:maxwells:2120}
S = \int d^4 x \LL(\phi, \partial_\nu \phi).

The extreme value of the action is found when the Euler-Lagrange equations
\label{eqn:maxwells:2140}
0 = \PD{\phi}{\LL} – \partial_\nu \PD{(\partial_\nu \phi)}{\LL},

are satisfied. For a Lagrangian with multiple field variables, there will be one such equation for each field.

### Start proof:

To ease the visual burden, designate the variation of the field by $$\delta \phi = \epsilon$$, and perform a first order expansion of the varied Lagrangian
\label{eqn:maxwells:20}
\begin{aligned}
\LL
&\rightarrow
\LL(\phi + \epsilon, \partial_\nu (\phi + \epsilon)) \\
&=
\LL(\phi, \partial_\nu \phi)
+
\PD{\phi}{\LL} \epsilon +
\PD{(\partial_\nu \phi)}{\LL} \partial_\nu \epsilon.
\end{aligned}

The variation of the Lagrangian is
\label{eqn:maxwells:40}
\begin{aligned}
\delta \LL
&=
\PD{\phi}{\LL} \epsilon +
\PD{(\partial_\nu \phi)}{\LL} \partial_\nu \epsilon \\
&=
\PD{\phi}{\LL} \epsilon +
\partial_\nu \lr{ \PD{(\partial_\nu \phi)}{\LL} \epsilon }

\epsilon \partial_\nu \PD{(\partial_\nu \phi)}{\LL},
\end{aligned}

which we may plug into the action integral to find
\label{eqn:maxwells:60}
\delta S
=
\int d^4 x \epsilon \lr{
\PD{\phi}{\LL}

\partial_\nu \PD{(\partial_\nu \phi)}{\LL}
}
+
\int d^4 x
\partial_\nu \lr{ \PD{(\partial_\nu \phi)}{\LL} \epsilon }.

The last integral can be evaluated along the $$dx^\nu$$ direction, leaving
\label{eqn:maxwells:80}
\int d^3 x
\evalbar{ \PD{(\partial_\nu \phi)}{\LL} \epsilon }{\Delta x^\nu},

where $$d^3 x = dx^\alpha dx^\beta dx^\gamma$$ is the product of differentials that does not include $$dx^\nu$$. By construction, $$\epsilon$$ vanishes on the boundary of the action integral so \ref{eqn:maxwells:80} is zero. The action takes its extreme value when
\label{eqn:maxwells:100}
0 = \delta S
=
\int d^4 x \epsilon \lr{
\PD{\phi}{\LL}

\partial_\nu \PD{(\partial_\nu \phi)}{\LL}
}.

The proof is complete after noting that this must hold for all variations of the field $$\epsilon$$, which means that we must have
\label{eqn:maxwells:120}
0 =
\PD{\phi}{\LL}

\partial_\nu \PD{(\partial_\nu \phi)}{\LL}.

### End proof.

Armed with the Euler-Lagrange equations, we can apply them to the Maxwell’s equation Lagrangian, which we will claim has the following form.

## Theorem 1.2: Maxwell’s equation Lagrangian.

Application of the Euler-Lagrange equations to the Lagrangian
\label{eqn:maxwells:2160}
\LL = – \frac{\epsilon_0 c}{2} F \cdot F + J \cdot A,

where $$F = \grad \wedge A$$, yields the vector portion of Maxwell’s equation
\label{eqn:maxwells:2180}
\grad \cdot F = \inv{\epsilon_0 c} J,

which implies
\label{eqn:maxwells:2200}
\grad F = \inv{\epsilon_0 c} J.

This is Maxwell’s equation.

### Start proof:

We wish to apply all of the Euler-Lagrange equations simultaneously (i.e. once for each of the four $$A_\mu$$ components of the potential), and cast it into four-vector form
\label{eqn:maxwells:140}
0 = \gamma_\nu \lr{ \PD{A_\nu}{} – \partial_\mu \PD{(\partial_\mu A_\nu)}{} } \LL.

Since our Lagrangian splits nicely into kinetic and interaction terms, this gives us
\label{eqn:maxwells:160}
0 = \gamma_\nu \lr{ \PD{A_\nu}{(A \cdot J)} + \frac{\epsilon_0 c}{2} \partial_\mu \PD{(\partial_\mu A_\nu)}{ (F \cdot F)} }.

The interaction term above is just
\label{eqn:maxwells:180}
\gamma_\nu \PD{A_\nu}{(A \cdot J)}
=
\gamma_\nu \PD{A_\nu}{(A_\mu J^\mu)}
=
\gamma_\nu J^\nu
=
J,

but the kinetic term takes a bit more work. Let’s start with evaluating
\label{eqn:maxwells:200}
\begin{aligned}
\PD{(\partial_\mu A_\nu)}{ (F \cdot F)}
&=
\PD{(\partial_\mu A_\nu)}{ F } \cdot F
+
F \cdot \PD{(\partial_\mu A_\nu)}{ F } \\
&=
2 \PD{(\partial_\mu A_\nu)}{ F } \cdot F \\
&=
2 \PD{(\partial_\mu A_\nu)}{ (\partial_\alpha A_\beta) } \lr{ \gamma^\alpha \wedge \gamma^\beta } \cdot F \\
&=
2 \lr{ \gamma^\mu \wedge \gamma^\nu } \cdot F.
\end{aligned}

We hit this with the $$\mu$$-partial and expand as a scalar selection to find
\label{eqn:maxwells:220}
\begin{aligned}
\partial_\mu \PD{(\partial_\mu A_\nu)}{ (F \cdot F)}
&=
2 \lr{ \partial_\mu \gamma^\mu \wedge \gamma^\nu } \cdot F \\
&=
– 2 (\gamma^\nu \wedge \grad) \cdot F \\
&=
&=
&=
– 2 \gamma^\nu \cdot \lr{ \grad \cdot F }.
\end{aligned}

Putting all the pieces together yields
\label{eqn:maxwells:240}
0
= J – \epsilon_0 c \gamma_\nu \lr{ \gamma^\nu \cdot \lr{ \grad \cdot F } }
= J – \epsilon_0 c \lr{ \grad \cdot F },

but
\label{eqn:maxwells:260}
\begin{aligned}
&=
&=
&=
\end{aligned}

so the multivector field equations for this Lagrangian are
\label{eqn:maxwells:280}
\grad F = \inv{\epsilon_0 c} J,

as claimed.

## Problem: Correspondence with tensor formalism.

Cast the Lagrangian of \ref{eqn:maxwells:2160} into the conventional tensor form
\label{eqn:maxwells:300}
\LL = \frac{\epsilon_0 c}{4} F_{\mu\nu} F^{\mu\nu} + A^\mu J_\mu.

Also show that the four-vector component of Maxwell’s equation $$\grad \cdot F = J/(\epsilon_0 c)$$ is equivalent to the conventional tensor form of the Gauss-Ampere law
\label{eqn:maxwells:320}
\partial_\mu F^{\mu\nu} = \inv{\epsilon_0 c} J^\nu,

where $$F^{\mu\nu} = \partial^\mu A^\nu – \partial^\nu A^\mu$$ as usual. Also show that the trivector component of Maxwell’s equation $$\grad \wedge F = 0$$ is equivalent to the tensor form of the Gauss-Faraday law
\label{eqn:maxwells:340}
\partial_\alpha \lr{ \epsilon^{\alpha \beta \mu \nu} F_{\mu\nu} } = 0.

To show the Lagrangian correspondence we must expand $$F \cdot F$$ in coordinates
\label{eqn:maxwells:360}
\begin{aligned}
F \cdot F
&=
( \grad \wedge A ) \cdot
( \grad \wedge A ) \\
&=
\lr{ (\gamma^\mu \partial_\mu) \wedge (\gamma^\nu A_\nu) }
\cdot
\lr{ (\gamma^\alpha \partial_\alpha) \wedge (\gamma^\beta A_\beta) } \\
&=
\lr{ \gamma^\mu \wedge \gamma^\nu } \cdot \lr{ \gamma_\alpha \wedge \gamma_\beta }
(\partial_\mu A_\nu )
(\partial^\alpha A^\beta ) \\
&=
\lr{
{\delta^\mu}_\beta
{\delta^\nu}_\alpha

{\delta^\mu}_\alpha
{\delta^\nu}_\beta
}
(\partial_\mu A_\nu )
(\partial^\alpha A^\beta ) \\
&=
– \partial_\mu A_\nu \lr{
\partial^\mu A^\nu

\partial^\nu A^\mu
} \\
&=
– \partial_\mu A_\nu F^{\mu\nu} \\
&=
– \inv{2} \lr{
\partial_\mu A_\nu F^{\mu\nu}
+
\partial_\nu A_\mu F^{\nu\mu}
} \\
&=
– \inv{2} \lr{
\partial_\mu A_\nu

\partial_\nu A_\mu
}
F^{\mu\nu} \\
&=

\inv{2}
F_{\mu\nu}
F^{\mu\nu}.
\end{aligned}

With a substitution of this and $$A \cdot J = A_\mu J^\mu$$ back into the Lagrangian, we recover the tensor form of the Lagrangian.

To recover the tensor form of Maxwell’s equation, we first split it into vector and trivector parts
\label{eqn:maxwells:1580}

Now the vector component may be expanded in coordinates by dotting both sides with $$\gamma^\nu$$ to find
\label{eqn:maxwells:1600}
\inv{\epsilon_0 c} \gamma^\nu \cdot J = J^\nu,

and
\label{eqn:maxwells:1620}
\begin{aligned}
\gamma^\nu \cdot
&=
\partial_\mu \gamma^\nu \cdot \lr{ \gamma^\mu \cdot \lr{ \gamma_\alpha \wedge \gamma_\beta } \partial^\alpha A^\beta } \\
&=
\lr{
{\delta^\mu}_\alpha
{\delta^\nu}_\beta

{\delta^\nu}_\alpha
{\delta^\mu}_\beta
}
\partial_\mu
\partial^\alpha A^\beta \\
&=
\partial_\mu
\lr{
\partial^\mu A^\nu

\partial^\nu A^\mu
} \\
&=
\partial_\mu F^{\mu\nu}.
\end{aligned}

Equating \ref{eqn:maxwells:1600} and \ref{eqn:maxwells:1620} finishes the first part of the job. For the trivector component, we have
\label{eqn:maxwells:1640}
0
= (\gamma^\mu \partial_\mu) \wedge \lr{ \gamma^\alpha \wedge \gamma^\beta } \partial_\alpha A_\beta
= \inv{2} (\gamma^\mu \partial_\mu) \wedge \lr{ \gamma^\alpha \wedge \gamma^\beta } F_{\alpha \beta}.

Wedging with $$\gamma^\tau$$ and then multiplying by $$-2 I$$ we find
\label{eqn:maxwells:1660}
0 = – \lr{ \gamma^\mu \wedge \gamma^\alpha \wedge \gamma^\beta \wedge \gamma^\tau } I \partial_\mu F_{\alpha \beta},

but
\label{eqn:maxwells:1680}
\gamma^\mu \wedge \gamma^\alpha \wedge \gamma^\beta \wedge \gamma^\tau = -I \epsilon^{\mu \alpha \beta \tau},

which leaves us with
\label{eqn:maxwells:1700}
\epsilon^{\mu \alpha \beta \tau} \partial_\mu F_{\alpha \beta} = 0,

as expected.

## Problem: Correspondence of tensor and Gibbs forms of Maxwell’s equations.

Given the identifications

\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1500}
F^{k0} = E^k,

and
\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1520}
F^{rs} = -\epsilon^{rst} B^t,

and
\label{eqn:maxwells:1560}
J^\mu = \lr{ c \rho, \BJ },

the reader should satisfy themselves that the traditional Gibbs form of Maxwell’s equations can be recovered from \ref{eqn:maxwells:320}.

The reader is referred to Exercise 3.4 “Electrodynamics, variational principle.” from [2].

## Problem: Correspondence with grad and curl form of Maxwell’s equations.

With $$J = c \rho \gamma_0 + J^k \gamma_k$$ and $$F = \BE + I c \BB$$ show that Maxwell’s equation, as stated in \ref{eqn:maxwells:2200} expand to the conventional div and curl expressions for Maxwell’s equations.

To obtain Maxwell’s equations in their traditional vector forms, we pre-multiply both sides with $$\gamma_0$$
\label{eqn:maxwells:1720}
\gamma_0 \grad F = \inv{\epsilon_0 c} \gamma_0 J,

and then select each grade separately. First observe that the RHS above has scalar and bivector components, as
\label{eqn:maxwells:1740}
\gamma_0 J
=
c \rho + J^k \gamma_0 \gamma_k.

In terms of the spatial bivector basis $$\Be_k = \gamma_k \gamma_0$$, the RHS of \ref{eqn:maxwells:1720} is
\label{eqn:maxwells:1760}
\gamma_0 \frac{J}{\epsilon_0 c} = \frac{\rho}{\epsilon_0} – \mu_0 c \BJ.

For the LHS, first note that
\label{eqn:maxwells:1780}
\begin{aligned}
&=
\gamma_0
\lr{
\gamma_0 \partial^0 +
\gamma_k \partial^k
} \\
&=
\partial_0 – \gamma_0 \gamma_k \partial_k \\
&=
\end{aligned}

We can express all the the LHS of \ref{eqn:maxwells:1720} in the bivector spatial basis, so that Maxwell’s equation in multivector form is
\label{eqn:maxwells:1800}
\lr{ \inv{c} \PD{t}{} + \spacegrad } \lr{ \BE + I c \BB } = \frac{\rho}{\epsilon_0} – \mu_0 c \BJ.

Selecting the scalar, vector, bivector, and trivector grades of both sides (in the spatial basis) gives the following set of respective equations
\label{eqn:maxwells:1840}

\label{eqn:maxwells:1860}
\inv{c} \partial_t \BE + I c \spacegrad \wedge \BB = – \mu_0 c \BJ

\label{eqn:maxwells:1880}
\spacegrad \wedge \BE + I \partial_t \BB = 0

\label{eqn:maxwells:1900}
I c \spacegrad \cdot B = 0,

which we can rewrite after some duality transformations (and noting that $$\mu_0 \epsilon_0 c^2 = 1$$), we have
\label{eqn:maxwells:1940}

\label{eqn:maxwells:1960}
\spacegrad \cross \BB – \mu_0 \epsilon_0 \PD{t}{\BE} = \mu_0 \BJ

\label{eqn:maxwells:1980}
\spacegrad \cross \BE + \PD{t}{\BB} = 0

\label{eqn:maxwells:2000}

which are Maxwell’s equations in their traditional form.

## Problem: Alternative multivector Lagrangian.

Show that a scalar+pseudoscalar Lagrangian of the following form
\label{eqn:maxwells:2220}
\LL = – \frac{\epsilon_0 c}{2} F^2 + J \cdot A,

which omits the scalar selection of the Lagrangian in \ref{eqn:maxwells:2160}, also represents Maxwell’s equation. Discuss the scalar and pseudoscalar components of $$F^2$$, and show why the pseudoscalar inclusion is irrelevant.

The quantity $$F^2 = F \cdot F + F \wedge F$$ has both scalar and pseudoscalar
components. Note that unlike vectors, a bivector wedge in 4D with itself need not be zero (example: $$\gamma_0 \gamma_1 + \gamma_2 \gamma_3$$ wedged with itself).
We can see this multivector nature nicely by expansion in terms of the electric and magnetic fields
\label{eqn:maxwells:2020}
\begin{aligned}
F^2
&= \lr{ \BE + I c \BB }^2 \\
&= \BE^2 – c^2 \BB^2 + I c \lr{ \BE \BB + \BB \BE } \\
&= \BE^2 – c^2 \BB^2 + 2 I c \BE \cdot \BB.
\end{aligned}

Both the scalar and pseudoscalar parts of $$F^2$$ are Lorentz invariant, a requirement of our Lagrangian, but most Maxwell equation Lagrangians only include the scalar $$\BE^2 – c^2 \BB^2$$ component of the field square. If we allow the Lagrangian to be multivector valued, and evaluate the Euler-Lagrange equations, we quickly find the same results
\label{eqn:maxwells:2040}
\begin{aligned}
0
&= \gamma_\nu \lr{ \PD{A_\nu}{} – \partial_\mu \PD{(\partial_\mu A_\nu)}{} } \LL \\
&= \gamma_\nu \lr{ J^\nu + \frac{\epsilon_0 c}{2} \partial_\mu
\lr{
(\gamma^\mu \wedge \gamma^\nu) F
+
F (\gamma^\mu \wedge \gamma^\nu)
}
}.
\end{aligned}

Here some steps are skipped, building on our previous scalar Euler-Lagrange evaluation experience. We have a symmetric product of two bivectors, which we can express as a 0,4 grade selection, since
\label{eqn:maxwells:2060}
\gpgrade{ X F }{0,4} = \inv{2} \lr{ X F + F X },

for any two bivectors $$X, F$$. This leaves
\label{eqn:maxwells:2080}
\begin{aligned}
0
&= J + \epsilon_0 c \gamma_\nu \gpgrade{ (\grad \wedge \gamma^\nu) F }{0,4} \\
&= J + \epsilon_0 c \gamma_\nu \gpgrade{ -\gamma^\nu \grad F + (\gamma^\nu \cdot \grad) F }{0,4} \\
&= J + \epsilon_0 c \gamma_\nu \gpgrade{ -\gamma^\nu \grad F }{0,4} \\
&= J – \epsilon_0 c \gamma_\nu
\lr{
\gamma^\nu \cdot \lr{ \grad \cdot F } + \gamma^\nu \wedge \grad \wedge F
}.
\end{aligned}

However, since $$\grad \wedge F = \grad \wedge \grad \wedge A = 0$$, we see that there is no contribution from the $$F \wedge F$$ pseudoscalar component of the Lagrangian, and we are left with
\label{eqn:maxwells:2100}
\begin{aligned}
0
&= J – \epsilon_0 c (\grad \cdot F) \\
&= J – \epsilon_0 c \grad F,
\end{aligned}

which is Maxwell’s equation, as before.

# References

[1] C. Doran and A.N. Lasenby. Geometric algebra for physicists. Cambridge University Press New York, Cambridge, UK, 1st edition, 2003.

[2] Peeter Joot. Quantum field theory. Kindle Direct Publishing, 2018.

## Some nice positive feedback for my book.

Here’s a fun congratulatory email that I received today for my Geometric Algebra for Electrical Engineers book

Peeter ..
I had to email to congratulate you on your geometric algebra book. Like yourself, when I came across it, I was totally blown away and your book, being written from the position of a discoverer rather than an expert, answers most of the questions I was confronted by when reading Doran and Lasenby’s book.
You’re a C++ programmer and from my perspective, when using natural world math, you are constructing a representation of a problem (like code does) except many physicists do not recognize this. They’re doing physics with COBOL (or C with classes!).
congratulations