Europium is a chemical element with symbol Eu and atomic number 63. It was isolated in 1901 and is named after the continent of Europe. It is a moderately hard, silvery metal which readily oxidizes in air and water. Being a typical member of the lanthanide series, europium usually assumes the oxidation state +3, but the oxidation state +2 is also common: all europium compounds with oxidation state +2 are slightly reducing. Europium has no significant biological role and is relatively non-toxic compared to other heavy metals. Most applications of europium exploit the phosphorescence of europium compounds. Europium is one of the least abundant elements in the universe; only about 5×10−8% of all matter in the universe is europium.