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# What is the excited state of carbon?

The ground state of carbon is "1""s"^"2""2s"^"2"2"""p""^2. An excited state electron configuration of carbon is "1""s"^"2""2s"^1"2p"^3". This is the state of carbon when it undergoes chemical to form four covalent bonds, as in methane, "CH"_"4". However, the experimental evidence shows that all four bonds have the same energy, which can only be explained by the concept that the 2s and 2p orbitals hybridize to form four "sp"^3 orbitals, each with one unpaired electron.