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Emerging from inside of stars, carbon is the fourth most abundant element in the universe, and the basis for all life on Earth. Polyamorous, it loves to bond, exchanging four of its electrons with atoms of itself and other elements to create an endless variety of chemistry, from DNA chains to soccer-ball shaped fullerenes to atom-thick sheets of graphene. As diamond, carbon is hard and abrasive, as graphite, soft. When its bonds are broken, carbon readily moves from one partner to the next, cycling between oceans, atmosphere, flora, fauna, soil, rocks, and fossil deposits deep below ground. See live flameworking with Russell Taylor of Public Glass, and find out why borosilicate glass is used for both lab equipment and intricately beautiful artwork.
Follow the trail of this intriguing element through ceramics, cleaning agents, fireworks, nuclear reactors, and nanotubes. Get a primer on quantum mechanics, play with slime, and see live flameworking with Russell Taylor of Public Glass. On the cliffs above San Francisco's Ocean Beach perches a landmark observatory—a giant camera obscura. Step inside with Robert Tacchetto and see how this centuries-old technology creates enchanting images of the outside world.
Watch as the best teachers on the planet battle it out for the title of Iron Science Teacher. In this zany competition teachers will have ten minutes to create a science activity. Tee off with this week’s “secret” ingredient-salt!