Guess who- I’m a nonmetal, I’m present in all life forms, and I’m the sixth most common element in the universe. It’s me, Carbon! My name comes from the Latin word for charcoal, carbo. I’m not sure of my birth date or the location of my founding, but I do know that I’m very old. I’m so old that I was known to the prehistoric humans. If happen to glance at a periodic table, you will find me under group fourteen and period two. My element symbol is C and my atomic number is 6. If you look around on the periodic table, you’ll also find one of my friends Nitrogen. We’re so close that we resemble each other in certain ways. Weird, huh?
I live in a lot of different places. You can find sources of me in the earths crust, seawater, the Sun, and the atmosphere. You’ll usually see me as a solid since that is my physical state, but you can melt me at 3823 K and boil me at 4098 K to change me into a different state. I do not react with water, but when I am burned into the air, I form carbon oxide. In fact, I was in the news one time! There was an article on me in the New York Times for different causes of globing warming. I guess that wasn’t exactly a shining moment for me.
I come in many shapes and forms. You will find me in the form of graphite which is a dark grey color and is soft enough to from a streak on paper. On the other hand, I can be in the form of a diamond (a.k.a. a girl’s best friend). As a diamond, I am a transparent color and I’m one of the hardest materials you can find. I am present in a ton of forms such as in your clothes, food, cosmetics, gasoline, lead and etc. One of my most practical uses is lead in a pencil, which I’m sure all of you readers are familiar with. Even though I come in many different forms, I’m always around you.