Instanton cosmology and domain walls from M-theory and string theory
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The recent proposal by Hawking and Turok for obtaining an open inflationary universe from singular instantons makes use of low-energy effective Lagrangians describing gravity coupled to scalars and non-propagating antisymmetric tensors. In this paper we derive some exact results for Lagrangians of this type, obtained from spherical compactifications of M-theory and string theory. In the case of the S7 compactification of M-theory, we give a detailed discussion of the cosmological solutions. We also show that the lower-dimensional Lagrangians admit domain-wall solutions, which preserve one half of the supersymmetry, and which approach AdS space-times near their horizons. 1999 Elsevier Science B.V.