About 50 years after their discovery, neutron stars are poised to take center stage in this era of multi-messenger astrophysics.
Current gravitational wave observatories are expected to detect more than a few mergers involving neutron stars each year. Next, generation observatories will discover hundreds of neutron star mergers every year. In my talk, I highlight advances in theory and some key observations that have already provided fundamental new insights about neutron star properties and their central role in nuclear astrophysics. I shall discuss how neutron stars, and extreme phenomena involving them, can serve as laboratories to study phases of dense matter, create conditions for heavy-element nucleosynthesis, and provide new strategies to hunt for dark matter in the coming decades.