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Scalars with Higher Derivatives in Supergravity and Cosmology

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There are many situations in cosmology that
motivate the study of scalar fields with higher-derivative actions. The best-known
such situations are probably k-inflation (with DBI-inflation being a special
case) and models based on galileon theories, but even eternal inflation and
cyclic universes provide good reasons to study such theories. After an extended
discussion of the motivations, I will show how scalar field theories with
higher derivatives can be constructed in (minimal, 4-dimensional) supergravity,
and will discuss their properties, especially in regard to their cosmological