Carbon forms a vast number of compounds, more than any other element, with almost ten million compounds described to date, The allotropes of carbon include graphite, one of the softest known substances, and diamond, the hardest naturally occurring substance.
It bonds readily with other small atoms including other carbon atoms, and is capable of forming multiple stable covalent bonds with suitable, multivalent atoms.
Carbon is the 15th most abundant element in the Earth's crust, and the fourth most abundant element in the universe by mass after hydrogen, helium, and oxygen.
Carbon's abundance, its unique diversity of organic compounds, and its unusual ability to form polymers at the temperatures commonly encountered on Earth enables this element to serve as a common element of all known life.
Although thermodynamically prone to oxidation, carbon resists oxidation more effectively than elements such as iron and copper that are weaker reducing agents at room temperature.
Carbon is the sixth element, with a ground-state electron configuration of 1s, of which the four outer electrons are valence electrons.
For example, graphite can be oxidised by hot concentrated nitric acid at standard conditions to mellitic acid, C Carbon sublimes in a carbon arc which has a temperature of about 5,800 K (5,530 °C; 9,980 °F).
Graphite is soft enough to form a streak on paper (hence its name, from the Greek verb "γράφειν" which means "to write"), while diamond is the hardest naturally occurring material known.
When you look at a skull, you think it represents the end, but when you see the end so beautiful, it gives you hope.
"Diamonds are about perfection and clarity and wealth and sex and death and immortality.
The skull used in For the Love of God underwent radiocarbon analysis, which found that it had probably belonged to a European man alive in the 18th or early 19th centuries, thought to be around 35 years-old.
Roger Sclare, the owner of the taxidermy business Get Stuffed, which provided Hirst with the first skull, said: "Infants' skulls are rare, but they do occasionally come up for sale if a museum or old teaching hospital who may have had them in their stock has a clear out.