In physics, hardness is a measure of how resistant solid matter is to various kinds of permanent shape change, when a force is applied. Hardness can be measured on the Mohs scale where diamond is ranked as the hardest natural material. Diamond is made from carbon atoms joined by extremely strong covalent bonds. There are harder synthesised materials though; for instance, aggregated diamond nanorods, or ADNRs, are made by subjecting carbon-60 molecules to immense pressures.
A Find out Friday interview with Dr Michael (M.H.) Cheah and Prof. Fred (W.S.) Chow from the Research School of Biology at The Australian National University