Frequently Asked Questions
It is difficult to trace the origin, but the historic Jones' 1989 paper, Nature 338 p 737 "Observation of cold nuclear fusion in condensed matter" certainly stimulated many similar titles. According to Prof. Xingzhong Li, the phrase "Condensed Matter Nuclear Science" was suggested at a meeting of the ICCF-9 International Advisory Committee and he adopted it as the title for the conference proceedings. Subsequently the title was adopted for the electronic journal as announced at ICCF-10 Condensed Matter Nuclear Science. The Society's name may be abbreviated to ISCMNS.
Bill Collis made a public call for an International Cold Fusion Society at the Asti workshop in 1999 and this was repeated by Jean Paul Biberian at ICCF-8 in 2000. Further discussion took place at ICCF-10 in 2003, and the first formal Presentation on a possible society was was made in November 2003 at ENEA, Frascati (Italy).
Condensed matter nuclear physics is not a new science. It includes neutron and muon physics, fields which are of interest to CF (but often overlooked).
Condensed Matter Nuclear Science is about multiple anomalies and it is unlikely that these can be explained by just one class of nuclear reactions be they fusion or fission. "Cold Fusion" is a widely used name of software and could be a source of confusion.
Good question! Experience shows that organizing any scientific initiative on an personal basis can place unreasonable burdens on the individuals concerned. For example, to organize a meeting, the organizers need to advance deposits on the conference hall, hotels and restaurants etc. Attendees benefit from discounts without taking any of the risks. It is not appropriate that these risks are taken by organizers who may be donating their time free of charge. Of course there are many other initiatives which the Society intends to take - organizing meetings is just one example.
The community needs an organization that is democratic and seen to be democratic. Democracies necessarily have to respond to their members and tend to provide better service. Because democratic organizations can claim to represent their members they are able to negotiate with other institutions including government from a stronger position.
It is difficulty for informal organizations to issue official invitations to foreigners for VISA purposes. There is no simple way for the authorities to check the validity of the invitation because informal organizations do not exist on the public record. As a result many foreigners are unable to travel to scientific meetings due to lack of a travel VISA. This problem is becoming more serious as a result of tightening international security.
A Society is accountable. Both attendees and sponsors of meetings like to know how their money is spent. Historically conference organizers have rarely published accounting records with the result that sponsors are now in short supply and attendees rightly or wrongly may consider the conference fees excessive. At many Cold Fusion meetings there has been no sponsorship whatsoever and we all pay the price in terms of high fees and declining attendance.
Formalizing a scientific society implies continuity. Many meeting organizations have a fleeting existence and lessons learned fail to get passed on to succeeding volunteers. Resources get wasted if there is no continuity. For example the ICCFs have registered and created their own distinct web sites.
The Japanese CF Research Society was founded in 1999. It is not incorporated and so has no legal standing, but it is very successful. One of its objectives is to "enhance Japan's role as a focal point of research", so it may not be a suitable vehicle for coordinating international initiatives.
Almost certainly but they are not membership organizations. They appear to be privately controlled and their management is employed by the foundation. Although these bodies may not make 'profits' they get into a conflict of interests situation, because the people who decide levels of remuneration are the same people who receive it! This structure may be appropriate for small organizations and any possible conflict of interest may be purely theoretical if the Foundation isn't making a profit to start with!
It is important that an International Society remains above suspicion of any ulterior motives. For as long as it is possible officers of the Society will not be remunerated. If this should change, then the membership should be asked to approve a remuneration policy.
At present there are no particular qualification requirements however if you may find it helpful to provide some supporting documentation (such as a list of papers published). You must provide an email address for communication. You may need to pay a 30 Euro (for individuals) subscription fee, sign your Application Form, and if your application is approved then you're in. You can find more details about membership at Membership.
The Executive Committee will consider particular cases and make appropriate arrangements. Membership fees automatically are waived completely for lower income (< Euros 10,000 p.a.) thus opening the Society to students, young researchers, retired people etc.
Members will have access to the Society's web-site.
The Society negotiates modest discounts for members at the attending meetings sponsored by the Society, such as including ICCF and the International Workshops on Anomalies in Hydrogen / Deuterium Loaded Metals (Italy). Conference papers are available exclusively to members on CD-ROM, DVD, or USB memory Key.
Depending on your country of residence you may be able to set off any annual subscription against personal tax perhaps on the grounds that you belong to a professional society. (The Society itself probably won't pay any income taxes either).
Member's subscriptions keep the Society in sufficient funds to maintain its web site and to cover administration costs. But most of the Society's income comes from organizing scientific meetings. Minor income arises from sales of DVDs and publications. A modest surplus arises from organizing scientific meetings. The Society has an interest earning bank account.
ISCMNS organized the 5th, 6th, 7th & 8th workshops on Anomalies in Hydrogen / Deuterium Loaded Metals and it has also sponsored ICCF11 - 14. Details of future initiatives can be found at Forthcoming Events
The society is a limited liability corporation registered in England. It is a democratic organization with a written constitution. The constitution outlines the objectives and organization of the Society. It publishes accounts annually which are accessible to the public. Currently the accounting period corresponds to the solar year (ending 31st December)..
Unfortunately in many countries the legal status of informal associations is unclear. An unincorporated Society cannot make legal contracts in its own name and consequently it is difficult to organize meetings of take out insurance against say public liability - important if undertaking a public demonstration! Potential sponsors are generally unwilling to provide financial assistance to informal organizations because they have little method of controlling that any donations are spent appropriately. A further advantage of incorporation is limited liability for the members. Unincorporated associations generally have rather unambitious management who take an excessively prudent view of any initiative in case there should some unforeseen liability.
The language of the scientific community (and the Society) is English! The initial costs of incorporation were very low - €200! Recurring annual corporate costs are about €40 per year. It is possible to enquire into the details of all English companies via the internet. See www.companieshouse.gov.uk This is a convenient and cheap way for members, creditors, sponsors to check up on the good standing of the Society.
The technical name is Private Company limited by Guarantee. This is the normal vehicle for incorporated associations. Each member does not buy any shares but rather guarantees the debts of the Society in the unlikely event of the Society becoming insolvent. In that case each member would only be liable to a maximum of Euro 1. Every new member must sign a declaration that he will abide by the constitution and promote its objectives, and do nothing to bring it into disrepute.
The public. Members have voting rights but no ownership rights. Members cannot sell or transfer their membership. Any 'profits' must be used to promote the Societies objects. On dissolution, the Society's assets, if any, must be given to a body having similar charitable objects.
Correct! The word "International" is considered sensitive and used as a prefix to the name indicates international pre-eminence in its field. The Registrar of Companies in England has confirmed that the Society qualifies and that the name is also approved under the exemptions of Section 30 of the 1985 Companies Act. The Society is legally recognized as being internationally pre-eminent!
We are all aware that many so called international organizations including prestigious scientific societies can tend to be dominated by a few countries with the most funding. It has been suggested that the ISCMNS constitution should reserve seats on the Executive Committee according to say, continent. Such a system, rigidly enshrined in a legally binding constitution, could lead to potential problems. First of all, the representative nations today may not be quite so representative tomorrow. The best guarantee of a representative Executive Committee is to appoint them through democratic elections as ISCMNS does.
Secondly a quota system could give rise to charges of racial discrimination. This is an offence under UK law.
The best way to eliminate discrimination is to ensure that all have equal rights. For example all members, whether individuals or multi-nationals, have one vote each. Those on lower incomes are entitled to join the Society at without payment of any fee. This is to encourage scientists from less affluent countries, students, retired people or simply those on a career break to benefit from membership.
One of the objectives of the Society is to facilitate access to intellectual property (IP). A proposal under consideration is that all members should agree to give other members access to published patented inventions on commercially reasonable terms. This right and obligation will be legally enforceable if written into the constitution. Of course consideration must be given to enforcing the rule and to appropriate let out clauses. However the guarantee of non-exclusion should prove a very valuable carrot to industry who may well be willing to pay significantly higher subscription fees in return. On the other hand holders of valuable patents will have a ready made market for their IP.
This an understandable concern. Fortunately the society is exempted from the need publish a list of its members! (Under section 30 of the 1985 Companies Act and so it doesn't need to send a list of members to the public registry - the Registrar of Companies in England. However, anyone, member or not, can inspect the Society's membership list by turning up physically at the Registered Office of the Society in England). At present nobody has approached the Society requesting anonymity and consequently the entire list of members names and addresses is published at list_of_members. Note that ISCMNS does not publish members' email addresses.
The main advantage of being a charity is to pay less tax. However in 2004-5 UK legislation allowed corporations to earn up to £10,000 per year in profits without paying any corporation tax at all! In the case of a membership organization, additionally, there was never UK tax to pay on membership dues. So registering as a Charity would have created extra bureaucracy with little financial advantage. This favourable tax regime ended in 2006. The Society has now adopted objects which are exclusively charitable so there was an obligation to register as a Charity. The Society duly became a Charity in October 2006.
A discussion of the Society's charitable status can be found here.
ISCMNS has always been a "non profit" which means that it cannot pass on surplus funds to its members by way of a dividend or on liquidation like ordinary corporations. Such status would not necessarily prohibit the directors from siphoning off such funds into personal salaries or expense accounts! And to prevent abuse, most states impose rules to further regulate soliciting of donations.
In contrast, a UK Charity, must additionally adopt objects which are charitable and exclusively for the public interest as defined in Law. Any benefit for members or staff must be reasonable, necessary, and authorized.
In comparing Charities, and in particular ISCMNS, with other organizations it might be prudent to consider:-
You could read the constitution and see how the Society is managed. You could read the financial accounts which the Society is obliged by law to publish. accounts. You could examine the Conflict of Interests Policy If you still have doubts a group of members can require an external audit. The procedure is set out in the Articles of Association. If you have further concerns about how the Society is being run, you could contact the Charities Commission in England who may decide to investigate!
Note that elections to office are normally carried out by email in order to ensure that all members have the opportunity to vote. An exception to this was the first election carried out by poll at ICCF-11 Marseilles, France.
ISCMNS communicates wherever possible by email to avoid international postage costs. It will avoid accounting and auditing fees, so long as members agree, by drawing up its own accounts. It does not employ anyone. It will arrange General Meetings of the Society's members to coincide with International Scientific Conferences. In order to save money, the Society's members have elected not hold Annual General Meetings every year. In practice it has always done so.
As a matter of policy, we will not publish member's email addresses on the www. However unless a member requests otherwise, names and addresses will be made available to all members in electronic form. After all one of the objectives of the Society is to promote dialogue! By law, names and addresses of the Officers and members must be made available to anyone turning up in person at the Society's Registered Office in England.
The Society is managed by the Executive Committee (EC). Members of the EC are Directors and have a legal responsibility to ensure the Society is well governed. It is obviously not practical to have frequent physical meetings of committees whose members are resident in different continents. The constitution provides for electronic communication and the Society uses cheap internet based conferencing software with text, voice (and optionally web-cam).
As the Society grows the EC may need to expand too. But we all know that large committees do not always make the best decisions. Consequently the EC has the power to delegate powers to unelected sub-committees. Whilst the EC is always responsible for any decisions delegated to others, the members may pass a vote of no confidence in any officer (including members of sub-committees) who shall immediately resign.
An example of a sub-committee is the Scientific Commission (a historical name), responsible for awarding Society prizes. All committees reach their decisions my majority vote and keep written minutes of their meetings. The duties of sub-committees are summarized in the By-Laws.
Most members of the Executive Committee are elected directly by members by email and take up office a year later. This may seem a very long time but it is necessary to ensure that adequate discussion takes place and that all members, whether or not they attend the Society's meetings have a chance to vote. The full procedure is set out in the Articles of Association. There are some very important exceptions to this. Firstly, to provide continuity, the Executive Committee of the old unincorporated association continue in office in the new incorporated Society. These officers were elected at the 1st Annual General Meeting in held in Asti, Italy. You can read the Minutes here.
Secondly the EC can nominate any member of the Society to join their ranks to fill vacancies. Such unelected members must resign when elected officers replace them. There's no reason why the EC should not delegate its prerogatives on such terms as it sees fit to the members in general meeting.
Thirdly the By-Laws, written by the EC, may provide that the chairmen of certain strategic sub-committees shall automatically become EC members too.
For the future the EC is considering the advantages of re-incorporating the Society as a Charitable Incorporated Organization and possibly the setting up of subsidiary company to carry on commercial operations such as organizing meetings, publishing, research. Report of the Chief Executive, 2007.
Staff may be able to claim approved documented expenses incurred exclusively on Society business. And fees of up to 300 euros per year may be payable without bureaucracy. However the short answer is that prestige and honour count for something. Not everyone will want to take on the frequently thankless task of serving on a committee. But those who make particular contributions to the science or to the Society can be rewarded by nomination say to a prestigious category of membership such as Fellow. This is a strategy used by many scientific societies including the Japanese CF Research Society. Another possibility is to award symbolic medals or prizes.
For particularly arduous work, the Articles of Association provide for the office of Chief Executive who may be a paid employee of the Society.
If you have a good idea tell a member of the Executive Committee! But remember the officers are working on your behalf free of charge and they may not relish taking on new burdensome responsibilities! So if you think that the Society should establish, say, an Industrial Liaison Sub-Committee then be prepared to start this yourself!
You can write to anyone in an individual capacity but may you not take any action in the name of the Society without being authorized to do so by the Executive Committee.
We hope not. Appropriate forums for scientific argument are scientific meetings or in a reviewed papers. In both cases 'peers' soon weed out inappropriate contributions. As already mentioned candidates on applying to the Society for membership, must undertake to abide by its constitution, support its objects and not to bring it into disrepute. Anyone who doesn't follow these courtesies can be removed from membership.
Any science worthy of the name needs constructive comment and debate. Science progresses as researchers respond to feedback, improve their techniques and communicate them to the community. Like all scientific organizations, we need a diverse spectrum of opinions and ideas. You don't have to believe in any particular theory to apply for membership.
Thank you for your generosity, but the short answer is no. Donations from members are usually welcome, but whether or not you donate the equipment we cannot approve your device. It would be unfair to other members who might also have devices. If we were to approve it we might get sued by your customers if it doesn't work as described. If we do not approve it, you might sue the Society! If you have a demo device, bring it at your own expense to the appropriate meeting. You'll probably get plenty of publicity.
The Society being not for profit, needs to be circumspect when dealing with enterprise. Of course we want to support members but we would look at the interests of members as a whole not just the interests of individuals. And we would look at the interests of the community too because all of the assets of the Society actually belong to the public. If anyone, whether member or not, develops a self-sustaining water boiler for example, the Society might well delegate someone to examine it, and to organize an appropriate public demonstration.
Thank you for asking. We need volunteers to help with the web-site, newsletter, meeting organization. We need volunteers with free time to serve on the committees. Job descriptions outlining the responsibilities of the various roles can be found in the By-Laws. We need members. We need your comments. We need your ideas.
A good library of on-line papers and commentary can be found at www.lenr-canr.org