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Physicist who helped power villages in India named editor of new Cell Press energy journal

Philip Earis, a former editor at the Royal Society of Chemistry and the founder of a non-profit that develops and installs solar energy technology in off-grid communities in Western India, has been named the inaugural editor of Joule, a new Elsevier journal spanning energy research across scales and disciplines.

"The need for more sustainable energy is one of the key challenges facing the world today and there's an increasing realization that no one group of people, nor one discipline, can address that challenge alone," Earis says. "Energy researchers with different backgrounds at different scales need to come together: Joule will be a home for cross-pollination of important results in energy research and a community-spanning forum where ideas are amplified."

Earis, who studied physics at Cambridge University, started his career in publishing at the Royal Society of Chemistry. He served as the executive editor of a portfolio of physical science journals and later took an opportunity to move from the UK to India in 2013 to build partnerships between the society and the Indian scientific community.

While in India, Earis was aware of the energy problems that many people around him were facing. In response, he founded a social enterprise non-profit, dubbed Project Light, in collaboration with Indian scientists and research institutes. Together, they developed solar energy solutions for marginalized off-grid communities around Mumbai and Maharashtra state and worked with those communities to install new devices and monitor their performance.

"For people not even on the first rung of the energy ladder, disadvantage is entrenched: adults can't really work or children study after dark, and primitive energy solutions such as burning kerosene are polluting, dangerous, and expensive," Earis says. "I felt with my science background and my connections, I could bring together researchers to address some of those problems."

Two years after assisting villages in West India with their energy needs, Earis returned to the UK and accepted his new role at Joule. He will connect chemists, engineers, physicists, materials scientists, policy makers, and others in the energy community to build the journal's first issue, which will showcase insightful, impactful, and forward-looking energy research.

"We're excited to grow our physical sciences offerings with Philip on the team," says Cell Press CEO Emilie Marcus. "His experience in the laboratory, as an editor, and working with communities to solve energy problems makes him a natural fit to bring together researchers looking at sustainability from so many different fields. We have high expectations for Joule to make a real difference in addressing the world's energy challenges."

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