Symposium S11  4 – 5 July 2016

Gamma-ray bursts: recent theoretical models and observations

News: Conference proceedings will be published in a special issue of Galaxies:

Aims and scope

Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), are cosmic flashes of gamma-rays, and are some of the most energetic events ever detected, with luminosities exceeding 1050 erg/sec. GRBs are thus powerful beacons of the early Universe, and extreme physical laboratories. They are intrinsically linked to the lifecycle of stars and galaxies, therefore GRBs can provide complementary insights into galactic and stellar evolution. Multi-wavelength observations of these enigmatic events allow us to go deeper into their underlying physics, but 40 years after their discovery their origin remains elusive.

A great amount of theoretical work has been invested in order to understand what is the central engine and the emission mechanism of GRBs. It has been proposed that GRBs fall into two subcategories, short- and long-duration. However, recently accumulated data suggests that the distinction based on burst duration may not be as strong as originally thought, and all GRBs may be energized by the same type of central engine. Signatures of the central engine may be revealed with GRB observations, in particular in the X-rays, where a treasure load of data from the BAT and XRT instruments aboard the Swift satellite are available from the last 10 years.

Most recently, the question of the central engine has been put aside, while research focuses on the emitting region, the emission mechanisms and the effort to understand all the characteristics of the light curves and the spectra of the bursts. While this has significantly increased our understanding of GRBs, new features and phenomena are still being discovered, such as ultralong duration GRBs, of which one was recently linked to a super-luminous supernova. Furthermore, GRBs are proving to be useful probes of cosmic star formation history and cosmology, and much research is being performed to fully exploit their advantages.

This is an exciting time in the GRB field. The already sizeable GRB community in Europe and worldwide has grown rapidly in the last decade. Various space missions and ground observations are providing a wealth of new data from GeV to radio energies. These are complemented by recent theoretical and numerical advancements in our understanding of the physical mechanisms behind GRBs. In the modern era of multi messenger astronomy, the study of GRBs is likely to intensify as we try to piece together information from the full electromagnetic spectrum, gravitational waves and neutrinos.

This 2-day Symposium aims to keep the astrophysical community abreast of the latest developments in this far-reaching field by bringing together observers, numerical modellers, and theorist from several fields who will explore:


  • The nature of the GRB central engine
  • The diversity of GRBs: prompt emission and afterglow
  • Short GRBs and multi messenger observations
  • Future prospects for observations and numerical simulations
  • Relationship between GRBs and supernovae
  • Host galaxies of GRBs and the use of GRBs as probes of the ISM of high redshift galaxies

Invited speakers

  • L. Rezzolla Institute of Theoretical Physics, Frankfurt
  • O. Bromberg Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • D. Perley Dark Cosmology Centre, NBI, University of Copenhagen
  • Z. Cano University of Iceland

Scientific organisers
I. Contopoulos (RCAAM, Academy of Athens, Greece, co-chair) S. R. Oates (IAA-CSIC, Spain, co-chair) D. Giannios (Purdue University, USA) A. Levan (Uni of Warwick, UK) M. De Pasquale (MSSL-UCL, UK) A. Castro-Tirado (IAA-CSIC, Spain) P. Schady (MPE, Germany) M. Symeonidis (MSSL-UCL, UK) A. Nathanail (ITP, Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany)

I. Contopoulos: icontop @ S. R. Oates: sro @

Updated on Thu May 26 10:59:20 CEST 2016