How carbon dating
By vaporizing graphite with lasers, the scientists created a mysterious new molecule made of pure carbon, according to the American Chemical Society.This molecule turned out to be a soccer-ball-shaped sphere made of 60 carbon atoms.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.The end result: Atoms with six protons and six neutrons — carbon.Carbon has two electron shells, with the first holding two electrons and the second holding four out of a possible eight spaces.When atoms bond, they share electrons in their outermost shell.
In 1985, Rick Smalley and Robert Curl of Rice University in Texas and their colleagues discovered a new form of carbon.Carbon-14 is a radioactive isotope of carbon used by archaeologists to date objects and remains.Carbon-14 is naturally occurring in the atmosphere. Arrange carbon atoms in one way, and they become soft, pliable graphite. — the atoms form diamond, one of the hardest materials in the world.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.