-Life on Earth is Carbon based.
-The second most common element in the earthâ€™s crust is Silicon (28% by weight, Oxygen is first).
-Silicon Dioxide is the most common compound (42% by weight).
-Carbon and Silicon both have room for 4 electrons on their outer orbitals, so their affinity for electrons should be equal.
Why is life on Earth Carbon based instead of Silicon based?
(figures taken from http://education.jlab.org/glossary/abund_ele.html)
Another question from the elegant, intelligent Becky. I relish the challenge.
The answer lies in the fact that carbon knows how to party and get along with others of its kind. Silicon is a poor partier and an angry drunk, so it gets left out of the life-shindig. Carbon is very comfortable hanging out in multiple configurations with other carbon molecules (chains, links, etc) – silicon, when put in the same configuration, tends to either fall apart or EXPLODE. While an exploding life form might be interesting, it’s likely to be short-lived.
Carbon likes to hang out in molecules of tens of thousands of atoms. Silicon, being kind of lame and boring, only hangs out at most with 6 other atoms of the same kind, and that’s only in the lab – being such big dorks and all, parties are beyond silicon’s ken.
Finally, carbon has chirility, or handedness. Most organic molecules form in left or right “handed” configurations – and silicon is a big ambidextrous loser. The chirility is what allows carbon molecules to form chains, which are required in organic compounds.
I hope this answers your question, Becky. Carbon likes to get out and party, and silicon stays at home and smells like rotten eggs.