Cerium is a chemical element with the symbol 58. Cerium is a soft that tarnishes when exposed to air, and it is soft enough to be cut with a knife. Cerium is the second element in the lanthanide series, and while it often shows the +3 oxidation state characteristic of the series, it also has a stable +4 state that does not oxidize water. It is also considered one of the rare-earth elements. Cerium has no biological role in humans and is not very toxic.
Despite always occurring in combination with the other rare-earth elements in minerals such as those of the monazite and bastnäsite groups, cerium is easy to extract from its ores, as it can be distinguished among the lanthanides by its unique ability to be oxidized to the +4 state. It is the most common of the lanthanides, followed by neodymium. It is the 26th-most abundant element , making up 66 ppm of the Earth's crust, half as much as chlorine.
Cerium was the first of the lanthanides to be discovered, in Bastnäs and Wilhelm Hisinger in 1803, and independently by Martin Heinrich Klaproth in Germany in the same year. In 1839 Carl Gustaf Mosander became the first to isolate the metal. Today, cerium and its compounds have a variety of uses: for example, cerium(IV) oxide is used to polish glass and is an important part of catalytic converters. Cerium metal is used in ferrocerium properties. Cerium-doped YAG phosphor is used in conjunction with blue light-emitting diodes to produce white light in most commercial white LED light sources.