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Imagine the same year our California mission San Luis Obispo is founded the French Scientist Antoine Lavoisier came to the conclusion that diamonds and charcoal were both different forms of carbon15 The real interest lies in how Lavoisier and other chemists came to this conclusion It was 1772 that humanity began to understand the physical and chemical properties of this rare jewel and common use for warmth So as we know Lavoisier built the foundation for the element carbon one may ask themselves what exactly is carbon and how does it affect our livesLets start at the beginning in the experiment that Lavoisier and his helpers preformed They placed a diamond in a jar as well as a piece of charcoal in a jar Using a magnified glass they burned both substances It occurred to Lavoisier that they both formed carbon dioxide thus making them one of the same element1 Lavoisier is known as the discoverer based primarily on his documentation of this experiment and his naming of this element 6 But what exactly is carbonTo a chemists perspective it has atomic number of six which refers to its six protons As seen in the form of a solid at room temperature this non-metal is the sixth most abundant element in our universe Combining with other elements to form compounds using its four valence electrons carbon is known to form long chains4 Although it can form long chains because of its many isotopes and its ability to connect with itself3Carbon only has three natural forms or allotropes which are amorphous graphite and dimonds8 Whether considered dull or beautiful to the everyday observer carbon has a very high melting point of 3823 Kelvin or 3550 Celsius7 This means that in order for carbon to change in composition or react with other substances chemists have to work with extreme temperatures3 In fact carbon is such a prominent and intense element that chemist can
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