Abstract:
The Kondo effect involves the formation of a spin singlet by a magnetic impurity and conduction electrons. It is characterized by a low temperature scale, the Kondo temperature, $T_K$, and an associated long length scale, $\xi_K = \hbar v_F/(k_BT_K)$ where $v_F$ is the Fermi velocity. This Kondo length is often estimated theoretically to be in the range of .1 to 1 microns but such a long characteristic length scale has never been observed experimentally. In this review, I will examine how $\xi_K$ appears as a crossover scale when one probes either the dependence of physical quantities an distance from the impurity or when the impurity is embedded in a finite size structure and discuss possible experiments that might finally observe this elusive length scale.

Abstract:
A brief review is given of a new method for studying the critical behavior of quantum impurity problems, based on conformal field theory techniques, which I developed with Andreas Ludwig. Some results on the overscreened Kondo problem are reviewed. It is shown that the simple open and periodic fixed points, which occur in quantum spin chain impurity models, are related to each other by fusion.

Abstract:
Impurities are ubiquitous in condensed matter. Boundary Conformal Field Theory (BCFT) provides a powerful method to study a localized quantum impurity interacting with a gapless continuum of excitations. The results can also be implied to nanoscopic devices like quantum dots. In these lecture notes, I review this field, including the following topics: I. General Renormalization Group (RG) framework for quantum impurity problems: example of simplest Kondo model II. Multi-channel Kondo model III. Quantum Dots: experimental realizations of one and two channel Kondo models IV. Impurities in Luttinger liquids: point contact in a quantum wire V. Quantum impurity entanglement entropy VI. Y-junctions of Luttinger liquids VII. Boundary condition changing operators and the X-ray edge problem.

Abstract:
Recently, a new approach, based on boundary conformal field theory, has been applied to a variety of quantum impurity problems in condensed matter and particle physics. A particularly enlightening example is the multi-channel Kondo problem. In this review some earlier approaches to the Kondo problem are discussed, the needed material on boundary conformal field theory is developed and then this new method is applied to the multi-channel Kondo problem.

Abstract:
Boundary condition changing operators in conformal field theory describe various types of "sudden switching" problems in condensed matter physics such as the X-ray edge singularity. We review this subject and give two extensions of previous work. A general derivation of a connection between the X-ray edge singularity, the Anderson orthogonality catastrophe and finite-size scaling of energies is given. The formalism is also extended to include boundstates.

Abstract:
A recently derived general formula and older numerical results are combined to deduce the behavior of the transverse correlation exponent for the spin-1 Heisenberg antiferromagnetic chain in an applied magnetic field: eta = 1/2 - (2.0)m +O(m^2), where m is the magnetization per site. A comparison with the O(3) non-linear sigma-model is also made.

Abstract:
The critical behavior associated with a transverse magnetic field applied at the edge of a semi-infinite xxz S=1/2 chain is calculated using field theory techniques. Contrary to a recent claim, we find that the long-time behavior is given by a renormalization group fixed point corresponding to an infinite field which polarizes the spin at the edge. The zero temperature entropy and position-dependent magnetization are calculated.

Abstract:
Using previous results from boundary conformal field theory and integrability, a phase diagram is derived for the 2 dimensional Ising model at its bulk tri-critical point as a function of boundary magnetic field and boundary spin-coupling constant. A boundary tri-critical point separates phases where the spins on the boundary are ordered or disordered. In the latter range of coupling constant, there is a non-zero critical field where the magnetization is singular. In the former range, as the temperature is lowered, the boundary undergoes a first order transition while the bulk simultaneously undergoes a second order transition.

Abstract:
The excitation spectrum of spin-Peierls antiferromagnets is discussed taking into acount phonon dynamics but treating inter-chain elastic couplings in mean field theory. This gives a ladder of soliton -anti-soliton boundstates, with no soliton continuum, until soliton deconfinement takes place at a transition into a non-dimerized phase.

Abstract:
Despite the fact that the low energy behavior of the basic Kondo model cannot be studied perturbatively it was eventually shown by Wilson, Anderson, Nozieres and others to have a simple "local Fermi liquid theory" description. That is, electronic degrees of freedom become effectively non-interacting in the zero energy limit. However, generalized versions of the Kondo model involving more than one channel or impurity may exhibit low energy behavior of a less trivial sort which can, nonetheless, be solved exactly using either Bethe ansatz or conformal field theory and bosonization techniques. Now the low energy limit exhibits interacting many body behavior. For example, processes in which a single electron scatters off the impurity into a multi electron-hole state have a non-vanishing (and sometimes large) amplitude at zero energy. This corresponds to a rare solveable example of non-Fermi liquid behavior. Essential features of these phenomena are reviewed.