The Hamilton least action principle, a reformulated Maupertuis least action principle, and their reciprocals, are shown to be useful as direct methods for approximate solutions of dynamics problems. We discuss applications to trajectories of all types, i.e., periodic, quasiperiodic, chaotic, scattering, and arbitrary segments of arbitrary trajectories. The analogy with the standard technique used in quantum mechanics is very striking, especially in one of the reformulations (extremization of the mean energy), and in the calculational procedure (Rayleigh–Ritz type).

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