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Carbon is one of the most common elements in the Universe. It is the chemical building block of life on Earth and carbon products are an inextricable part of our everyday lives. As the basis of several chemical compounds, carbon is found in food, fuels, fertilisers, cleaning products, drinks and medicines – in other words, almost everything man encounters each and every day. As an element, carbon plays an increasingly greater role in our civilisation. It is the basis of the over 10 million organic compounds known to man. Therefore, it plays a crucial role in nearly all fields of life. Without it, we would not have advanced in medicine, pharmacy, biology, chemistry, physics, materials, metallurgy, textiles, gastronomy, automotive, aeronautics, cosmonautics, cosmetics, energy, electronics or arts.