The cosmological constant as a zero action boundary

Enrique Gaztañaga*

*Corresponding author for this work

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The cosmological constant Λ is usually interpreted as Dark Energy (DE) or modified gravity (MG). Here, we propose instead that Λ corresponds to a boundary term in the action of classical General Relativity. The action is zero for a perfect fluid solution and this fixes Λ to the average density ρ and pressure p inside a primordial causal boundary: Λ = 4πG <ρ+3p >. This explains both why the observed value of Λ is related to the matter density today and also why other contributions to Λ, such as DE or MG, do not produce cosmic expansion. Cosmic acceleration results from the repulsive boundary force that occurs when the expansion reaches the causal horizon. This universe is similar to the ΛCDM universe, except on the largest observable scales, where we expect departures from homogeneity/isotropy, such as CMB anomalies and variations in cosmological parameters indicated by recent observations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)436-444
Number of pages9
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Early online date13 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021


  • cosmic background radiation
  • cosmological parameters
  • cosmology: dark energy
  • early Universe
  • inflation

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