Carben 14 dating
Coal is also a key component in steel production, while graphite, another form of carbon, is a common industrial lubricant.
Carbon-14 is a radioactive isotope of carbon used by archaeologists to date objects and remains.
As the sixth-most abundant element in the universe, carbon forms in the belly of stars in a reaction called the triple-alpha process, according to the Swinburne Center for Astrophysics and Supercomputing.
In older stars that have burned most of their hydrogen, leftover helium accumulates.
This molecule turned out to be a soccer-ball-shaped sphere made of 60 carbon atoms.
The research team named their discovery the buckminsterfullerene after an architect who designed geodesic domes.
Carbon is also the key ingredient for most life on Earth; the pigment that made the first tattoos; and the basis for technological marvels such as graphene, which is a material stronger than steel and more flexible than rubber.
[See Periodic Table of the Elements] Carbon occurs naturally as carbon-12, which makes up almost 99 percent of the carbon in the universe; carbon-13, which makes up about 1 percent; and carbon-14, which makes up a minuscule amount of overall carbon but is very important in dating organic objects.
Plants take it up in respiration, in which they convert sugars made during photosynthesis back into energy that they use to grow and maintain other processes, according to Colorado State University.
(It can also bond stably to fewer atoms by forming double and triple bonds.) In other words, carbon has options.
And it uses them: Nearly 10 million carbon compounds have been discovered, and scientists estimate that carbon is the keystone for 95 percent of known compounds, according to the website Chemistry Explained.
Each helium nucleus has two protons and two neutrons.
Under very hot temperatures — greater than 100,000,000 Kelvin (179,999,540.6 F) — the helium nuclei begin to fuse, first as pairs into unstable 4-proton beryllium nuclei, and eventually, as enough beryllium nuclei blink into existence, into a beryllium plus a helium.