Four dimensional N=2 theories from six dimensions
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By formulating the six dimensional (0,2) superconformal field theory X[j] on a Riemann surface decorated with certain codimension two defects, a multitude of four dimensional N=2 supersymmetric field theories can be constructed. In this dissertation, various aspects of this construction are investigated in detail for j=A,D,E. This includes, in particular, an exposition of the various partial descriptions of the codimension two defects that become available under dimensional reductions and the relationships between them. Also investigated is a particular observable of this class of four dimensional theories, namely the partition function on the four sphere and its relationship to correlation functions in a class of two dimensional non-rational conformal field theories called Toda theories. It is pointed out that the scale factor that captures the Euler anomaly of the four dimensional theory has an interpretation in the two dimensional language, thereby adding one of the basic observables of the 4d theory to the 4d/2d dictionary.