Testing black hole astrophysics across the mass spectrum

Andrea Merloni, MPE

In the last decade, a combination of high sensitivity and spatial resolution observations in the extragalactic domain, and of coordinated multi-wavelength campaigns on galactic objects have revolutionized our understanding of black holes astrophysics on all mass scales, allowing the first quantitative tests of scale invariance in such extreme environments. I will discuss recent progresses on this topic, focusing on the physical implications of the so-called ``fundamental plane of black hole activity'' and its analogues in the variability space. In particular, I will show how this approach enables substantial progress towards super-unification schemes for active galactic nuclei, in which the large variety of different AGN classes can be classified based on fundamental physical parameters only, such as mass, accretion rate and kinetic energy output. This, in turn, holds the key for a better understanding of the role of supermassive black holes growth in the cosmological structure formation process.