William Collis’ LENR Legacy
Christy L. Frazier — July 24, 2023
Our friend and colleague William Collis passed away on July 20, 2023 after a brave battle with cancer. He had just turned 70 on July 7. Bill’s good nature and dry wit will be particularly missed by all who knew him, but he will be most remembered for his advocacy for cold fusion.
Bill was a founding member of the International Society for Condensed Matter Nuclear Science (ISCMNS). In March 2004 after much discussion with others in the CMNS field, he single-handedly set up the UK-based charitable ISCMNS, wrote the “Constitution” and other founding documents, and prepared material for and created the ISCMNS website. As Chief Executive Officer, Bill created a truly international Society with outreach and importance to CMNS researchers and advocates throughout the world. The Executive Committee of the ISCMNS has been made up of scientists from every continent since its inception in 2004.
In an Open Letter about the formation of the ISCMNS, Bill commented on the challenges of forming a Society to promote cold fusion: “Our first challenge is to convince the world that so-called ‘cold fusion’ is a real phenomenon, worthy of serious scientific study. I believe that this is not such an insurmountable problem as it is often considered to be. It is quite clear, however, that doing ‘good science’ or publishing in peer-reviewed journals has not and probably will not have much effect. Every time scientists have painstakingly overcome objections—such as reproducibility, demonstration of nuclear ash production, demonstration of nuclear fuel consumption—critics have moved the goal posts and insisted on yet more absurd hurdles to be overcome.”
Bill did not like to focus on those hurdles, and always encouraged others in the field to consider new ways to promote the science. In 1997, Bill organized his first cold fusion conference, the Third International Workshop on Anomalies in Hydrogen/Deuterium Loaded Metals, held in Italy. See Bill’s historic commentary on the organization of that conference in Infinite Energy #17. Thereafter, the remaining Italian workshops were organized by Bill under the umbrella of the ISCMNS, including the 22nd Workshop held in September 2022. (The next meeting will be held in Strasbourg, France in September 2024 and has been re-named the Bill Collis Memorial Clean HME Workshop.)
As CEO of the Society, Bill was very involved with the early stages of each ICCF international cold fusion conference. He called and led meetings of the ISCMNS membership and the International Advisory Committee (IAC) for conferences at each ICCF. As organizer of a successful and popular conference series, many of the ICCF Chairmen (who organize each meeting) looked to Bill for advice.
Under Bill’s leadership, the ISCMNS has contributed greatly to the cold fusion field. In addition organizing the workshops, Bill had a hand in the creation of the Society’s Journal of Condensed Matter Nuclear Science (JCMNS). The JCMNS is a free scientific e-journal that publishes papers on LENR science, experimentation and theory. Given the difficulty LENR scientists have encountered in publishing in mainstream journals, the JCMNS has been a research lifeline.
Bill created and oversaw the awarding of numerous ISCMNS scientific prizes. Fittingly, a few days before Bill’s death, the Society awarded him the Giuliano Preparata Medal. Jean-Paul Biberian, Bill’s friend and JCMNS editor, drove from France to Italy to tell Bill the news in person, which he received in his typical humble, quiet way. The Medal was officially awarded to Bill at ICCF25 in August 2023. Dr. Edmund Storms noted, “Bill created the Preparata and Toyoda awards as a way to acknowledge good work while seeking no recognition for himself. Perhaps we should consider creating the Collis Award as a way to acknowledge similar standards in other people.” (See a recent IE interview with Bill for more details on various projects undertaken by the ISCMNS.)
Bill was a tireless advocate for cold fusion. He was also a scientist and theorist. Bill graduated with a degree in Biochemistry from the University of Oxford. After a career in embedded software, his interest in nuclear physics led him to investigate cold fusion. His theoretical work focused mainly on the numerology of nuclear masses. Storms said, “Bill was one of those rare individuals who encouraged a discussion even though he had strong personal beliefs about how LENR worked. He practiced the standards that science demands.”
When Bill set forth the mission of the ISCMNS, he noted that its focus would be on communication, education and demonstration. After news of Bill’s worsening health became known, ISCMNS members banded together to lessen his workload and prepare for the future. Alan Smith was appointed Acting CEO, at the suggestion of Bill. Working with Lynn Bowen (then Acting President of the Executive Committee), Smith and other ISCMNS members discussed the way forward, with a focus on the same goals Bill had in 2004: communication, education and demonstration. At an ISCMNS meeting at ICCF25, a reorganization of the Society was approved, including naming Smith CEO and Bowen President. Until at least January 2024, membership in the ISCMNS is free. (A separate story on the re-organization of ISCMNS will follow.)
Bill’s enthusiasm and humor will be greatly missed. His legacy will live on in the restructured ISCMNS.