A good slogan for the chemical element silicon is "You're standing on it." Silicon is found in dust, sand and other materials making up planets. It ranks behind oxygen as the second-most common element contributing to the Earth's crust.
Silicon, discovered in 1824 by a Swedish chemist, reacts less easily than its neighbor directly above it in the periodic table, carbon. It reacts more easily than germanium, the element below it in the table. It is the seventh-most common element in the universe. It can be produced by heating sand and carbon to high temperatures, and it is an ingredient in other useful substances such as polishing agents, medical implants and lubricants. It is also used in making soaps and as a preservative for eggs.