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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.
Scientists and engineers are working with these carbon nanomaterials to build materials straight out of science-fiction.
Plants take it up in respiration, in which they convert sugars made during photosynthesis back into energy that they use to grow and maintain other processes, according to Colorado State University.
Animals incorporate carbon-14 into their bodies by eating plants or other plant-eating animals.
Atoms are arranged as a nucleus surrounded by an electron cloud, with electrons zinging around at different distances from the nucleus.
Chemists conceive of these distances as shells, and define the properties of atoms by what is in each shell, according to the University of California, Davis.
Carbon-14 is a radioactive isotope of carbon used by archaeologists to date objects and remains.