1) Which is the definition of a conformal field theory?

2) Which are the physical prerequisites one would need to start studying conformal field theories? (i.e Does one need to know supersymmetry? Does one need non-perturbative effects such as solitons, instantons etc?)

3) Which are the mathematical prerequisites one would need to start studying conformal field theories? (i.e how much complex analysis should one know? Does one need the theory of Riemann Surfaces? Does one need algebraic topology or algebraic geometry? And how much?)

4) Which are the best/most common books, or review articles, for a gentle introduction on the topic, at second/third year graduate level?

5) Do CFT models have an application in real world (already experimentally tested) physics? (Also outside the high energy framework, maybe in condensed matter, etc.)