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Executive Committee of the American Institute of Physics

Minutes of Meeting

November 21, 1931

The Executive Committee met at the call of the Chairman at 10:30 a.m., November 21, 1931, at the Physics Laboratories, Columbia University, New York City.

Present: Chairman K. T. Compton, W. P. Davey, Harvey Fletcher, L. A. Jones, G. B. Pegram, and by invitation Mr. Barton, Director of the Institute, Mr. Buffum, Treasurer, and Mr. Hunter, member of the Governing Board.

The Minutes of the meeting of the Executive Committee on August 5, 1931 and of the Governing Board on September 10, 1931 were read and approved.

The Chairman stated that important reports were ready for submission to the Governing Board, first a report of the Director covering the period since his taking office on October first, and second a detailed report by Mr. Tate, adviser on publications, as to the general problem of American publications in physics. Since these reports were to be presented in full to the Governing Board later in the morning they were not discussed in the Executive Committee.

The Chairman stated that the most important subject to be considered and acted upon by the Executive Committee was the drafting of a constitution and by-laws for the Institute of Physics.

The Committee then entered upon informal discussion of points of importance in framing a constitution.

The Secretary discussed certain general types of organization and referred to the organization of United Engineering Trustees, Inc. as one that seemed in its general framework to parallel fairly closely the ideas that seem to have been guiding in the development of the Institute of Physics.

The discussion then proceeded to bear upon the following topics among others, but no formal action was taken:

  1. Shall the control of the Institute be vested for the present in a few of the larger national societies representing physics or shall it be extended to take in many groups each of which shall have representation on the Governing Board? It seemed clearly the sense of the Committee that in any case only national societies should be associated in the control of the Institute.
  2. What provision should be made for affiliation with societies representing subjects closely allied with physics as for example, some of the engineering societies?
  3. What provision should be made for associated societies including local clubs?
  4. The question was raised as to whether the Institute might not even bring in as one of the founder groups the Section of Physical Chemistry in the American Chemical Society.
  5. The question was raised as to whether the group, composed mainly of physical chemists, who come together yearly in the “Colloid Symposium” are sufficiently organized to be included among the controlling bodies of the Institute.
  6. The possible status of the American Meteorological Society and the American Society of Petroleum Geophysicists was discussed.
  7. The question of the size of the Governing Board was discussed, including the possibility of a relatively large council of members to be elected by the controlling societies, which council should then elect a smaller governing board.

The Secretary was asked to prepare in consultation with officers of the Institute and members of the Governing Board a draft of a form of organization in the light of the discussion at this meeting and to submit it to the Executive Committee at its next meeting.

The hour of the meeting of the Governing Board, eleven-thirty, having arrived, the Executive Committee adjourned.