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Homogeneity and projective equivalence of differential equation fields

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  • We propose definitions of homogeneity and projective equivalence for systems of ordinary differential equations of order greater than two, which allow us to generalize the concept of a spray (for systems of order two). We show that the Euler-Lagrange fields of parametric Lagrangians of order greater than one which are regular (in a natural sense that we define) form a projective equivalence class of homogeneous systems. We show further that the geodesics, or base integral curves, of projectively equivalent homogeneous differential equation fields are the same apart from orientation-preserving reparametrization; that is, homogeneous differential equation fields determine systems of paths.
    Mathematics Subject Classification: 34A26, 70H03, 70H50.

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