OKC Colloquium: First detections of very high energy emission from gamma-ray bursts

Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are perhaps the most energetic explosions in the known Universe, in a few seconds releasing more energy than the Sun during its entire lifetime. Discovered over 40 years ago, they are now known to be sources of radiation from gamma-rays to radio. The high-energy emission from GRBs is a formidable probe of extreme physics, requiring rapid variability from highly relativistic sources. Despite the advancements in our understanding of GRBs, many fundamental questions regarding the particle acceleration and radiative processes associated with these events remain unanswered. Recently, several detections have been made in the very high-energy domain by ground-based Cherenkov Telescopes, providing new input and raising new questions regarding the emission mechanisms of these powerful events. In this talk, I will present the results from these ground-breaking observations, and show how this discovery pushes our understanding of GRBs a step further.