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We consider a dynamical system moving in a Riemannian space and prove two theorems which relate the Lie point symmetries and the Noether symmetries of the equation of motion, with the special projective group and the homothetic group of the space respectively. These theorems are used to classify the two dimensional Newtonian dynamical systems, which admit Lie point/Noether symmetries. The results of the study i.e. expressions of forces / potentials, Lie symmetries, Noether vectors and Noether integrals are presented in the form of tables for easy reference and convenience. Two cases are considered, Hamiltonian and non-Hamiltonian systems. The results are used to determine the Lie / Noether symmetries of two different systems. The Kepler -Ermakov system, which in general is non-conservative, and the conservative system with potential similar to the Hènon Heiles potential. As an additional application, we consider the scalar field cosmologies inFRW background with no matter, and look for the scalar field potentials for which the resulting cosmological models are integrable. It is found that the only integrable scalar field cosmologies are defined by the exponential and the Unified Dark Matter potential. It is to be noted that in all aforementioned applications the Lie / Noether symmetry vectors are found by simply reading the appropriate entry in the relevant tables. 1 Of course it is possible to look for a metric for which a given set of Γ i jk are the connection coefficients, or, even avoid the metric altogether. However we shall not attempt this in the present work. For such an attempt see [7].

We propose to use a model-independent criterion based on first integrals of motion, due to Noether symmetries of the equations of motion, in order to classify the dark energy models in the context of scalar field (quintessence or phantom) FLRW cosmologies. In general, the Noether symmetries play an important role in physics because they can be used to simplify a given system of differential equations as well as to determine the integrability of the system. The Noether symmetries are computed for nine distinct accelerating cosmological scenarios that contain a homogeneous scalar field associated with different types of potentials. We verify that all the scalar field potentials, presented here, admit the trivial first integral namely energy conservation, as they should. We also find that the exponential potential inspired from scalar field cosmology, as well as some types of hyperbolic potentials, include extra Noether symmetries. This feature suggests that these potentials should be preferred along the hierarchy of scalar field potentials. Finally, using the latter potentials, in the framework of either quintessence or phantom scalar field cosmologies that contain also a non-relativistic matter(dark matter) component, we find that the main cosmological functions, such as the scale factor of the universe, the scalar field, the Hubble expansion rate and the metric of the FRLW space-time, are computed analytically. Interestingly, under specific circumstances the predictions of the exponential and hyperbolic scalar field models are equivalent to those of the $\Lambda$CDM model, as far as the global dynamics and the evolution of the scalar field are concerned. The present analysis suggests that our technique appears to be very competitive to other independent tests used to probe the functional form of a given potential and thus the associated nature of dark energy.Comment: Accepted for publication in Physical Review D (13 pages

The Lie symmetries of the geodesic equations in a Riemannian space are computed in terms of the special projective group and its degenerates (affine vectors, homothetic vector and Killing vectors) of the metric.The Noether symmetries of the same equations are given in terms of the homothetic and the Killing vectors of the metric. It is shown that the geodesic equations in a Riemannian space admit three linear first integrals and two quadratic first integrals. We apply the results in the case of Einstein spaces, the Schwarzschild spacetime and the Friedman Robertson Walker spacetime. In each case the Lie and the Noether symmetries are computed explicitly together with the corresponding linear and quadratic first integrals.

It is shown that the Lie and the Noether symmetries of the equations of motion of a dynamical system whose equations of motion in a Riemannian space are of the formẍ i + i jkẋis an arbitrary function of its argument, are generated from the Lie algebra of special projective collineations and the homothetic algebra of the space respectively. Therefore the computation of Lie and Noether symmetries of a given dynamical system in these cases is reduced to the problem of computation of the special projective algebra of the space. It is noted that the Lie and Noether symmetry vectors are common to all dynamical systems moving in the same background space. The selection of the vectors which are Lie/Noether symmetries for a given dynamical system is done by means of a set of differential conditions involving the vectors and the potential function defining the dynamical system. The general results are applied to a number of different applications concerning (a) The motion in Euclidean space under the action of a general central potential (b) The motion in a space of constant curvature (c) The determination of the Lie and the Noether symmetries of class A Bianchi type hypersurface orthogonal spacetimes filled with a scalar field minimally coupled to gravity (d) The analytic computation of the Bianchi I metric when the scalar field has an exponential potential.

We perform a detailed study of the modified gravity f (R) models in the light of the basic geometrical symmetries, namely Lie and Noether point symmetries, which serve to illustrate the phenomenological viability of the modified gravity paradigm as a serious alternative to the traditional scalar field approaches. In particular, we utilize a model-independent selection rule based on first integrals, due to Noether symmetries of the equations of motion, in order to identify the viability of f (R) models in the context of flat FLRW cosmologies. The Lie/Noether point symmetries are computed for six modified gravity models that include also a cold dark matter component. As it is expected, we confirm that all the proposed modified gravity models admit the trivial first integral namely energy conservation. We find that only the f (R) = (R b − 2Λ) c model, which generalizes the concordance Λ cosmology, accommodates extra Lie/Noether point symmetries. For this f (R) model the existence of non-trivial Noether (first) integrals can be used to determine the integrability of the model. Indeed within this context we solve the problem analytically and thus we provide for the first time the evolution of the main cosmological functions such as the scale factor of the universe and the Hubble expansion rate.PACS numbers: 98.80.-k, 95.35.+d, 95.36.+x

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