Bulg. J. Phys. vol.27 no.1 (2000), pp. 047-056

Two-Dimensional Conformal Field Theory and Beyond Lessons from a Continuing Fashion

I.T. Todorov
Institute for Nuclear Research and Nuclear Energy, Tsarigradsko Chaussee 72, BG-1784 Sofia, Bulgaria
Abstract. Two-dimensional conformal field theory (CFT) has several sources: the search for simple examples of quantum field theory, the description of surface critical phenomena, the study of (super)string vacua (which made it particularly fashionable).
In the present overview of the subject we emphasize the role of CFT in bridging the gap between mathematics and quantum field theory anrl discuss some new physical concepts that emerged iu the study of CFT models: anomalous dimensions, rational CFT, braid group statistics.
In an aside, at the end of the paper, we share the misgivings, recently expressed by Penrose, about some dominant, trends in fundamental theoretical physics.

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