I'd like to understand more about how/why carbon-based life comes about. All things are atomically based, why is it that carbon atoms/elements are able to sustain life better than any other element?
Carbon is a very diverse bonding element. It has four valence electrons, which make it able to bond with oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen; further, it's bonding strength in "standard" temperature and pressure is right at the point where it can construct both reactive and stable molecules. Finally, carbon forms chains with itself that can lead one molecule to have many different "conformations".