An enchanting biography of the most resonant – and most necessary – chemical element on Earth.Carbon. It is the building block of every cell that makes up every living thing. It is the essential component of the food we eat, the fuel we burn, the wood we use and the air we breathe. It is worth billions as a luxury and half a trillion as a necessity, but there are still mysteries to be solved about the element that can be both diamond and coal. Where does it come from, what does it do, and why, above all, does life need it?
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