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Executive Committee of the American Institute of Physics

Minutes of Meeting

January 27, 1932

The Executive Committee met at the call of the Chairman at 10:00 a.m., Wednesday, January 27, 1932, in Mr. Buffum’s office, Chemical Foundation, 654 Madison Avenue, New York City.

Present: Chairman K. T. Compton, Messrs. Davey, Fletcher, Jones, Pegram, and by invitation Mr. Barton, Director of the Institute, Mr. Tate, and Mr. Buffum, Treasurer.

The Minutes of the meeting of the Executive Committee on November 21, 1931 were read and approved.

The Director reported briefly on the activities of the Institute since the last meeting. He spoke of his attendance on meetings of the Society of Rheology, of the Optical Society and of the Physical Society and of his appreciation on account of the Institute of his being invited to attend the Council Meetings of each Society. He had visited Minneapolis to confer with Mr. Tate, particularly as to the necessary details of the expected establishment of a central publishing office.

The office had been rather active in the release to the science editors of the newspapers of communications about research results, several of them being based on page proof of articles in the journals of our Societies. The reaction of the important newspaper men appears to be appreciative and very favorable. The volume of news of physics now appearing seems definitely increasing as a result of giving the science editors more information.

The Institute cooperated with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Aeronautical Division, in December in arranging a lecture by Dr. Irving Langmuir.

Other activities of the Director were in connection with matters to be taken up in this meeting.

The Chairman remarked on the success of the publicity for work in physics, as stimulated by the Institute. He announced that in connection with the approaching joint meeting of the Physical Society and the Optical Society in Cambridge, the Institute was arranging an evening lecture for the public by Professor H. N. Russell on spectroscopy in the study of the universe. He referred also to the fact that several societies representing sciences other than physics had indicated interest in and asked information about the publication plans of the Institute of Physics. (The Director stated that copies of Mr. Tate’s report had been given out to such inquirers.)

The Chairman stated that an appointment with representatives of the Rockefeller Foundation had been arranged for January 28th to discuss progress on publication problems particularly the recognition of the expense of publication as part of the expense of research.

The Secretary, in accordance with instructions at the last meeting, submitted a draft of a constitution and by-laws for the Institute, prepared in consultation with other members of the Board and with much assistance from the Director. This draft was read, discussed, amended and adopted in accordance with the copy attached, for recommendation to the Governing Board at its meeting on February 7th. (The chief amendment to the original draft was the inclusion, by unanimous vote, of the American Association of Physics Teachers as one of the Founder Societies with right to elect three members of the Governing Board.)

The question of the desirability of some form of incorporation was discussed and on motion it was voted to appoint the Secretary, the Director and the Treasurer a committee to secure information as to the most appropriate and feasible form under which the Institute could function as a duly incorporated body.

The Director thus submitted a memorandum on the requirements of an office for centralized publication and other business for the Institute and the Societies. He spoke of the neighborhood of Columbia University as being a desirable location, on account of the library, and of certain possibilities in that direction. A still more desirable location would be in the Engineering Societies Building if any space were available. (As to this the Director was asked to make definite inquiry.) He stated that except for the requirements of publicity some other place than New York City might well be considered, but that no other place approached this in advantages as a center for publicity.

The Chairman requested Messrs. Tate, Barton and Buffum to consider further the location of the office.

After a recess for luncheon Mr. Buffum informally and confidentially discussed the situation in which the Journal of Physical Chemistry, published at Ithaca, N. Y. with the endorsement of, but without the support of, the American Chemical Society, the Chemical Society of England, and the Faraday Society, now finds itself, after being aided for about ten years by the Chemical Foundation. Mr. Buffum raised the query as to whether in case the Journal of Physical Chemistry might wish to raise the question, the Institute of Physics might be at all interested in including such a journal in its general scheme of publication. It was the sense of the committee that any such proposal would be listened to with much interest by this committee.

The committee adjourned at 3 p. m.