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Article
Nature 331, 31 - 34 (07 January 1988); doi:10.1038/331031a0

Action principles in nature

John D. Barrow* & Frank J. Tipler

*Astronomy Centre, University of Sussex, Brighton BN1 9QH, UK
Department of Mathematics and Department of Physics, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana 70118, USA

Physical theories have their most fundamental expression as action integrals. This suggests that the total action of the Universe is the most fundamental physical quantity, and hence finite. In this article it is argued that finite universal action implies that the Universe is spatially closed. Further, the possible spatial topologies, the types of matter that can dominate the early universe dynamics, and the form of any quadratic additions to the lagrangian of general relativity are constrained. Initial and final cosmological curvature singularities are required to avoid a universal action singularity.

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