When I first learned about a material called silicon carbide, it blew my mind. It is one of the hardest synthetic materials, nearly as hard as diamond, and difficult to corrode. Its inner structure can take the form of more than 200 different crystal types. And here's the really cool part: at atmospheric pressure, it never melts—when it reaches 2,700 degrees Celsius, it skips a liquid form and turns straight from a solid into a gaseous vapor.

I was working toward my Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, when I encountered silicon carbide, and its unreal properties got me hooked on materials science. I was inspired to investigate the challenges and opportunities of using this strange material to make electronics.

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