@MISC{Schellekens_conformalfield, author = {A. N. Schellekens}, title = {Conformal Field Theory}, year = {} }

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Abstract

> Introduction Conformal field theory has been an important tool in theoretical physics during the last decade. Its origins can be traced back on the one hand to statistical mechanics, and on the other hand to string theory. Historically the most important impetus came from statistical mechanics, where it described and classified critical phenomena. Mainly after 1984 the subject went through a period of rapid development because of its importance for string theory. In addition there has been important input from mathematics, in particular through the work of Kac and collaborators. Perhaps one can distinguish yet another separate origin of some ideas, namely from people interested in rigorous approaches to quantum field theory. At present the subject still continues to develop, though more slowly, and it is still important in all the fields mentioned, plus a few additional branches of mathematics. The purpose of these lectures is to give a basic introduction to the subject. I w