What is a functorial conformal field theory?

James Tener (our newest MSI Fellow) will begin a series of talks on his work towards constructing interesting examples of conformal fields theories in Segal's axioms.

In this mostly expository talk I'll introduce Graham Segal's functorial definition for 2d chiral conformal field theories, and along the way try to give an answer to the question "what is a vertex operator algebra?" that might appeal to people who like TQFTs. If time permits, I'll discuss work in progress with Andre Henriques to construct functorial CFTs using von Neumann algebras.

We will go for drinks after the seminar; all welcome.