Carbon has six protons, which determines its place in the periodic table. All chemical elements possess an atomic number like this, starting with hydrogen at the atomic number of one. Carbon is the element widely accepted as being the key component for life on Earth.
Diamond is one of the hardest known substances on Earth, and it consists entirely of carbon that has been compressed by extreme pressure and heat. Diamonds are a crystalline form of this element, forming a clear substance with a wide array of uses in the manipulation of light and many industrial applications. Carbon is widely found in all forms of life as a component of organic compounds.