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Executive Committee of the American Institute of Physics

Minutes of Meeting

September 15, 1939

I. The Executive Committee met at the call of the Chairman at ten a.m., Friday, September 15, 1939 at the office of the American Institute of Physics Incorporated, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y.

Present: Chairman Tate, Messrs. Hardy, Pegram, Richtmyer, Director Barton and for part of the session Miss Mitchell.

Absent: Messrs. Klopsteg and Peek.

II. The Minutes of the Meeting, February 23, 1939:

The Minutes of the meeting of February 23, 1939 were approved as read.

III. Mr. Barton read a letter from the Institute of Radio Engineers stating that the Federal Government had removed the Institute of Radio Engineers from the class of corporations exempt from income tax as a scientific and educational organization and placed it in a class, also exempt, of professional organizations. The Secretary of the Institute of Radio Engineers raised the question as to whether this removal from the list of scientific organizations might indicate progressive step on the part of the government toward trying to get the Institute of Radio Engineers and similar organizations removed entirely from the exempt list.

The Treasurer in this connection cited the fact that the New York State taxation authorities had sent a bill to the Institute of Physics for occupancy tax which on legal advice was returned by the Treasurer with the statement that the Institute of Physics believed, as a New York State membership corporation for scientific activities, to be exempt from the occupancy tax.

IV. Office Organization Policy:

The director discussed several points in connection with the organization of the staff of the office, particularly the need of another man in the organization who would be available for a good deal of outside work which at present the Director could hardly be expected to do himself, some of this work being in connection with advertising, some of it in connection with the organization of meetings in which the Institute takes part. The Director also discussed several points in the organization of the office staff particularly concerned with the largest item of business of the Institute, namely publications. Mr. Barton raised the question as to whether it might not be desirable to have an advisory committee appointed on office organization.

After discussion in which the point was stressed by Mr. Hardy that with European conditions as they are the responsibility of American scientific organizations will be greater than ever before and that the best efforts of the Institute will be demanded. On motion it was voted:

that the Executive Committee should make a study of the office organization and staff of the Institute, holding a special meeting or meetings for this purpose after the Director has prepared and sent out to the Committee informational material on this subject.

V. Non-Collectible "Per Page" Charges:

Mr. Barton reported that on account of the fact that the underwriting by one of the foundations had come to a close there was up to June 30, 1939 accumulated on the books of the Institute "per page" charges for the several publications of the Institute amounting to more than $1500.

On motion it was voted:

that the Institute appropriate the sum of $1800 or such amount thereof as may be necessary as underwriting for the uncollectible "per page" charges, not otherwise underwritten, for articles published in the journals previous to July 1, 1939; and that the vote of the Governing Board on the question of authorizing this appropriation should be obtained by mail in order that if effective it might show on the books before the end of the present year.

It was understood that the Director would prepare a statement about this with itemized amounts for the several journals published by the Institute.

VI. Inventory of Unbound Sheets of "Physics In Industry":

On motion it was voted:

to instruct the Treasurer to write off before the end of 1939 the inventory item of $211.17 for unbound sheets of the book "Physics In Industry" since it appears that the supply of bound volumes on hand will meet all the demands that may be expected for that publication.

Since the Governing Board had voted at its meeting in February to write off only one-half the amount at which these unbound sheets were carried at that time it was agreed that the Board should be notified of this action of the Executive Committee and if objection were raised that the action would not be put into effect.

VII. On motion by Mr. Richtmyer it was voted:

that in view of the improved status of the Review of Scientific Instruments and the necessity of having that journal make a good showing between now and the end of the year on account of the recent increase in subscription price the publication of 32 pages for the present year in addition to those already allowed for in the budget be authorized.

VIII. Mr. Barton laid before the Committee information concerning the amount of subscriptions received from countries affected by present war conditions as follows:

War Countries Subscriptions – AIP Journals (RSI, JAP and JCP)
Czechoslovakia, Danzig and Poland$297.00
Austria and Germany1,454.90
British Isles2,035.50
Total European War Countries$4,244,40
Total Asian War Countries$2,431.40
All Warring Countries$6,675.80
All Foreign (Except Canada and Mexico)
  1. There was general discussion of the probable effect of war conditions on the income of the Institute. Mr. Barton stated that one important subscription agency, namely the Turner Agency, had requested cancellation of most of the subscriptions of the German postoffice.

  2. Since it appears that there may be many requests for cancellation of subscriptions it was agreed that the Director and Miss Mitchell should prepare a scheme applicable to such requests and a refund rate scale which should guard the Institute against loss.

  3. It was agreed that notice about foreign subscriptions sould be sent earlier than those about domestic subscriptions, that notice should be given that the Institute can not assume war risk for loss of the journals sent in the mails and that the notice which the journals regularly carry offering replacement of lost journals on notification within six months should be for the present discontinued.

IX. Financial Statement for Half Year:

The Director presented a summary of operations of the Institute for comparison with the budget for the period January 1 through June 30, 1939 showing a larger net profit than was estimated when the budget was adopted. The statement is as follows:

Half of 1939 Budget
O&EAdvertising Dept.RSIJAPJCP
Service and Sales4,890.003,770.00
Mfr. & Distrib.5,820.008,885.005,515.00
Deficit Reduction1,450.00
Net Profit$25.00
Results Jan. 1 – June 30, 1939
O&EAdvertising Dept.RSIJAPJCP
Service and Sales**5,313.513,815.04
Mfr. & Distrib.5,784.369,187.105,492.39
Deficit Reduction*1,589.16
New Profit$2,748.94

*Set equal to the 5% from the Societies
**In statement 50.00 is under O. & E. expense

On the basis of this statement there was a discussion of the present condition of the Institute and the prospects for the remainder of the year. It was agreed that the increase in the net profit would not be repeated for the second half of the year.

X. Policy in the National Emergency:

The Director stated that he had discussed with Messrs. Harrison and Barrows of the National Research Council and the National Academy of Sciences and K. T. Compton of the War Resources Board which is advisory to the Assistant Secretaries of War and Navy, the question of whether the Institute of Physics should at once begin to study the problem of how, in a national emergency brought on by the war in Europe, the Institute might best cooperate with such agencies as the National Academy and the National Research Council looking toward the most effective use of the contributions that physicists may make in such an emergency. The Director read an excerpt from a reply made to the Director’s enquiry by Dr. K. T. Compton under date of September 12, 1939. The gist of Dr. Compton’s statement is contained in the sentence: "However, unless the situation becomes much more acute than at present so far as this country is concerned, it has seemed to our board inadvisable to run the risk of contributing to war hysteria by asking for the formation of committees or other organizational measures."

XI. Report on Temperature Symposium:

The director placed in the hands of the members of the Committee the announcement of the "Symposium on Temperature – Its Measurement and Control in Science and Industry to be held November 2, 3, and 4, 1939 at the Hotel Pennsylvania, New York City under the auspices of the American Institute of Physics with the cooperation of National Bureau of Standards, National Research Council as well as officers and committees of many scientific and technical societies."

On motion it was voted:

that the Director be requested to express to the members of the committees in charge of the Symposium on Temperature the Executive Committee’s very grateful appreciation of the successful work of these committees in organizing this Symposium, for which so fine a program is already assured.

XII. Report on Book "Atoms in Action":

The Director had on hand several copies of the book by Professor George R. Harrison "Atoms in Action: The World of Creative Physics", the publication of which was stimulated by the Institute of Physics. The book was to be released in a few days by the publishers, William Morrow and Company, at a price of $3.50. Mr. Hardy stated that the October "Reader’s Digest" would publish one of the chapters of this book.

XIII. Advance Purchase of Paper:

The Director stated that there were indications that the price of the paper used in the journals published by the Institute would probably increase and would certainly not decrease and that therefore it would be prudent if possible to purchase a good supply at the present price. He stated that he was encouraging the Lancaster Press to purchase all it could store for the journals of the Institute and raised the question as to whether the Physical Society might not be in a position to make some advance for the purchase of this paper. No action was taken by the Committee.

XIV. Appointment of Editors:

On motion it was voted:

that the Chairman of the Committee be authorized to appoint editors and assistant editors for the journals, Review of Scientific Instruments, Journal of Applied Physics and Journal of Chemical Physics for 1940.

XV. The Committee adjourned about four p.m.