Gamma-Ray Bursts: a brief history (invited)

Author: Dieter Hartmann

Abstract: GRBs were first recorded in the late 60ies, and their discovery was announced in 1973. For a long time the phenomenon remained mysterious, and "standard models" associated them with Galactic neutron stars. Two decades after their discovery, an enormous paradigm shift, driven by observational breakthroughs, relocated GRBs to cosmological distances, which required new theoretical models. Massive stars and compact object binaries are now at the heart of our models, and their radiating relativistic outflows are strongly beamed. Prompt- and afterglow emission has opened this field to multidisciplinary studies, and we are now entering a phase in which GRBs are becoming valuable probes of cosmology. This talk will reminisce about the milestones along the four decades of this journey, and focus on the road that lies ahead.