Tracing out the darkness with cold gas: dynamically probing galaxy evolution
In this talk I will describe how mapping the dynamics of gas clouds in the centre of galaxies can help us to constrain a wide range of astrophysical problems. From the enigmatic relation between galaxies and their supermassive black holes, to the suppression of star-formation in dying galaxies, the dynamics of cold gas provides an ideal probe that can help us make progress. I will show how parsec resolution observations can be used to estimate the masses of supermassive black holes in galaxies across the Hubble sequence, and describe the WISDOM project, that aims to use this technique to constrain the importance of accreting SMBHs in galaxy quenching. I will go on to show that, contrary to expectations, molecular gas appears to be an important source of fuel for accretion in even low-luminosity, low-excitation active SMBHs. Finally, I will show that the deep potential wells of massive galaxies change the small-scale structure of the ISM, suppressing star formation, and helping to keep bulge-dominated objects quenched.