Tidal Disruption Events
The majority of supermassive black holes in the Universe lie dormant and starved of fuel. These hidden beasts can be temporarily illuminated when an unlucky star passes close enough to be tidally disrupted and consumed by the black hole. Theorists first proposed in 1975 that tidal disruption events should be an inevitable consequence of supermassive black holes in galaxy nuclei and later argued that the resulting flare of radiation from the accretion of the stellar debris could be a unique signpost for the presence of a dormant black hole in the center of a normal galaxy. It was not until over two decades later that the first convincing tidal disruption event candidates emerged in the X-rays by the ROSAT All-Sky Survey. Since then, over a dozen total candidates have now emerged from searches across the electromagnetic spectrum, including the X-rays, the ultraviolet, and the optical. In the last couple of years, we have also witnessed a paradigm shift with the discovery of relativistic beamed emission associated with tidal disruption events. I review the census of observational candidates to date and discuss the exciting prospects for using large samples of tidal disruption events discovered with the next-generation of ground-based and space-based synoptic surveys to probe accretion disk and/or jet formation and black hole demographics.