Ermakov systems : a group theoretic approach.
Govinder, Kesh S.
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The physical world is, for the most part, modelled using second order ordinary differential equations. The time-dependent simple harmonic oscillator and the Ermakov-Pinney equation (which together form an Ermakov system) are two examples that jointly and separately describe many physical situations. We study Ermakov systems from the point of view of the algebraic properties of differential equations. The idea of generalised Ermakov systems is introduced and their relationship to the Lie algebra sl(2, R) is explained. We show that the 'compact' form of generalized Ermakov systems has an infinite dimensional Lie algebra. Such algebras are usually associated only with first order equations in the context of ordinary differential equations. Apart from the Ermakov invariant which shares the infinite-dimensional algebra of the 'compact' equation, the other three integrals force the dimension of the algebra to be reduced to the three of sl(2, R). Subsequently we establish a new class of Ermakov systems by considering equations invariant under sl(2, R) (in two dimensions) and sl(2, R) EB so(3) (in three dimensions). The former class contains the generalized Ermakov system as a special case in which the force is velocity-independent. The latter case is a generalization of the classical equation of motion of the magnetic monopole which is well known to possess the conserved Poincare vector. We demonstrate that in fact there are three such vectors for all equations of this type.