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Executive Committee of the American Institute of Physics

Minutes of Meeting

September 9, 1947

Present: G. R. Harrison (Chairman), E. U. Condon, P. E. Klopsteg, G. B. Pegram, Wallace Waterfall.

Guest: R. C. Gibbs

AIP Admin. Staff: H. A. Barton, C. Norcross, T. Vorburger, Ruth Bryans, David A. Katcher.

The Executive Committee met at 10 a.m. on September 9 in the office of the Institute at 57 East 55 Street, New York. The Chairman welcomed to the Institute staff Mr. David A. Katcher as Editor of the new Institute journal scheduled for publication early in 1948.

1. Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on July 8, 1947 were approved as circulated.

2. Report of Director:

The Director reported briefly on the following:

  1. Delegates to Congress in Rome: Messrs. R. H. Bolt and V. K. Zworykin were designated by the Chairman to represent the Institute at the International Congress in Rome to Celebrate the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Discovery of Radio by Marconi.

  2. Consultant to Institute of International Education: Dr. Joseph C. Boyce was appointed by the Chairman to serve as consultant for physics to advise on matters of general policy and to assist in the selection of scholars and educational institutions.

  3. Names and other information to NRC: The Director reported briefly that the Institute was furnishing various information about physicists to the Office of Scientific Personnel in the National Research Council to assist in a government project on which that Office is engaged. The Institute is being partially reimbursed for staff time and other expense connected with this work.

  4. Ozalid Machine: Through the efforts of the Assistant Director, the Institute has acquired an Ozalid reproducing machine at very nominal cost.

  5. Press release on radioactive isotopes: Copies of the AIP release issued by the Director, September 4, 1947 were circulated to the members present. A copy is also attached to these minutes. The Committee expressed its gratification that this release was issued in view of the importance of the action of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission.

  6. Revision of journal contracts with Societies: This is proceeding well and is nearing completion.

  7. Amendment of Rules: Proposed changes in the Rules have been drawn up and will be ready to submit for review by the Executive Committee prior to presentation to the Governing Board at its next meeting.

  8. Building Alterations: Work is proceeding slowly but carefully; alterations will not be completed for at least two months.

  9. Operation Expense and Budget: Receipts in the second quarter have been better than expected. Although still running at a deficit, operations are better than budget for the half year. It is obvious, however, that some expense estimates were low in view of increased costs of printing, paper, and wages resulting from the general inflation which exists.

  10. Additional increase in Lancaster Press prices: Labor agreements at Lancaster Press have resulted in an immediate increase of 14% in composition prices. Discussion centered on the high quality of the work at Lancaster and the probable impossibility of getting similar quality at lower prices and faster schedule elsewhere in view of the situation in the printing industry. The Director proposed a survey of the possibilities. Mr. Harrison stressed the necessity for editors to require authors to keep manuscripts as short as possible.

  11. British journal of applied physics: The publication of such a journal is being seriously considered as a joint undertaking of the Institute of Physics and the Physical Society in London.

  12. Abbreviation of name of the Institute: For the possible convenience of subscribers making payments by check for AIP journals, something shorter than the full name of the Institute warrants consideration.

    It was agreed that the abbreviation “AIP” was appropriate for this purpose and that subscribers and others should be encouraged to use this abbreviation in making checks payable to the Institute.

  13. Enlargement of Committee in re Survey of Professional Work: Dr. Marsh White urges that an additional member be appointed to the Institute’s committee to report conclusions drawn from the Survey of Professional Work 1942-1946 which the Institute carried out on behalf of the War Department. Although the work has been done by Dr. White and reviewed by Mr. Norcross and is essentially completed, an additional appointment to the committee to provide final review is desirable. The Chairman and the Director will try to comply with Dr. White’s request.

2. The New Journal to be published by the Institute:

The Director stated that although it was too early for very much progress to be reported he was gratified with the vigor and speed with which Mr. Katcher has attacked the many problems involved. At the invitation of the Director, Mr. Katcher asked assistance and guidance in the following matters:

  1. Name for journal: Although “Physics” was tentatively adopted it does not indicate the non-technical nature of the journal and might appear a bit formidable even to the well-educated layman whom it is hoped to reach.

    “Physics Today”, “Physics – News and Views”, “Physics Forum”, “Physics News” were among the alternative suggestions but none were unanimously favored.

    It was agreed that the Editor had raised an important point and that further consideration was in order. It was suggested that the Policy Committee be asked to join in the effort to find a new name for the journal.

  2. Publication schedule: Because of the bottleneck in the printing industry, manuscript must be completed two months prior to date of issue. In starting a new journal it is advisable to plan and write at least the first three issues before publication. This tremendous amount of work, together with the many other problems confronting a new publication, makes it unlikely that the first issue can be published in January 1948 unless quality is sacrificed.

    The Committee was entirely sympathetic and agreed that quality should not be sacrificed unduly. It was agreed that the target date for first publication should be January 1948 and that the first issue should come out as close to that time as is humanly possible.

  3. Editorial policy and guidance: The Editor desires editorial policy review and editorial advice and assistance in order to be certain that the new journal will conform to the wishes of the Institute.

    It was confirmed that in accordance with the Executive Committee minutes of February 28, 1946 the Policy Committee would constitute the group to advise and review on over-all editorial policy. It was further agreed that a separate working group of editorial advisers, small in number, but containing persons with editorial experience, should be appointed.

    On motion of Mr. Pegram, seconded, and carried unanimously


    that the Chairman be empowered to appoint editorial advisers in such number as appear to him necessary to be available to the Editor of the new journal for advice and counsel.

    The Chairman indicated his intention to ask the Policy Committee to recommend individuals who might serve as editorial advisers and, in addition, to recommend a suitable administrative organization for the journal.

    It was agreed that the content of previous announcements concerning the new journal should be reviewed and that further consideration should be given to the price to be charged to subscribers who are not members of the Institute.

3. Expansion of campaign for fund for new journal:

The Director reviewed briefly the status of the campaign for funds. It was the sense of the Committee that the drive for funds should be renewed and expanded. On motion of Mr. Condon, seconded, and carried unanimously


that the Director be instructed to convey to the Journal Fund Committee the appreciation of the Executive Committee for the splendid results of the fund-raising effort to date; also to report to the Journal Fund Committee that it is the feeling of the Executive Committee that results to date warrant anticipation of a total fund of $60,000 or more; and

that it is the sense of the Executive Committee that the Journal Fund Committee should be enlarged by the addition of members so qualified and so situated geographically as to provide personal solicitation of prospective donors.

4. Additional Appropriation for Speedomat Equipment:

At the Director’s request, Mr. Vorburger reported that escalator clauses necessarily contained in the purchase agreement had resulted in a higher price for the Speedomat equipment than had been anticipated. This, together with the unanticipated cost of contracting for the punching of some 30,000 plates, requires a supplemental appropriation.

On Mr. Klopsteg’s motion, duly seconded, it was voted and carried unanimously

That an expenditure from surplus funds of $1,000.00 be authorized in addition to the $4,000.00 previously authorized for the purchase of Speedomat equipment and for incidental expenses including the punching of plates.

5. Acta Crystallographic Agreement:

The Director reported that the sense of the proposed agreement between the Institute and the International Union of Crystallography, which was circulated to the members of the Committee, had been discussed with Dr. R. C. Evans, Technical Editor of the new journal Acta Crystallographica, and that the draft agreement seemed to be generally agreeable. A copy of the proposed agreement is attached hereto.

On motion of Mr. Klopsteg, duly seconded, and carried unanimously


That the Director be empowered to enter into said agreement and, if advisable in his opinion, to alter the termination clause thereof to provide for termination of the agreement at the end of any fiscal year upon six months written notice.

6. Report of Tellers:

The Director reported the receipt of the report of the tellers for the election of members-at-large of the Governing Board. Attention was directed to Article X of the Rules of the Institute which provide that the tellers’ report be conveyed to the annual meeting of the corporation at its next meeting whereupon the individual receiving “the highest number of votes” in each classification on the ballot “shall be elected.” It was agreed that the winning nominees, namely, Robert B. Brode, Luis W. Alvarez, and F. W. Loomis, should be notified and that the full results of the balloting should be published after the annual meeting in February, 1948.

7. Washington Items:

At the invitation of the Committee Mr. R. C. Gibbs reported the following information:

  1. That the NRC Committee on UNESCO had issued a circular letter describing its program for assistance in selecting qualified individuals for fellowships in American institutions; that this letter was mailed to the secretaries of numerous professional societies; that to date the physics societies had not replied; and that replies were urgently requested.

    Such a letter addressed to the Institute has not been received but the Director offered to check into the matter and provide an appropriate reply. It was the sense of the Committee that there appeared to be nothing specific that the Institute could do except to indicate its interest in the work of the NRC Committee on UNESCO. It was agreed, however, that the inquiry should be referred to the Policy Committee for consideration and recommendation as to what if any activity the Institute can properly undertake.

  2. that the NRC Division of Physical Sciences is now represented on the International Union or Pure and Applied Physics; that this group believes organizations should be urged to discontinue the practice of appointing as delegates only individuals who are attending international conferences for other reasons; that this group was hoping to prevail upon UNESCO to pay the expenses of delegates to international conferences in order that organizations would be encouraged to choose as delegates individuals best qualified to represent them.

  3. that the first section of the Steelman report, “A Program for the Nation”, has been released; that among the various recommendations by Dr. Steelman was one calling for no program for fellowships and scholarships prior to 1949 on the basis that an adequate number of graduates in the fields of science would be provided through the GI Bill of Rights.

The Committee viewed this recommendation with serious concern on the premise that many qualified students not entitled to benefits of GI federal assistance might be lost to science; the Committee felt that a program for fellowships and scholarships and scholarships with federal government assistance should be provided immediately.

Continuing, Mr. Gibbs reported:

  1. that the prevailing opinion in Washington at the moment was to the effect that science legislation would be revised and approved by the President during the next session of the Congress.

  2. that study of proposals for Universal Military Training indicated no provision for training of men in science at the graduate levels; that selection of students to receive federal assistance would be based on their records during the last 6 months preceding enrollment in college; that at the conclusion of undergraduate study students who received federal government assistance would be committee to spend two years in military training; and that thus there existed the serious probability that many students qualified and needed for graduate study would be diverted from that study with little likelihood of their return for graduate study at the conclusion of the two years’ military training.

  3. that serious thought should be given to the best way in which professional societies such as the Institute can give to the government agencies the assistance they need in connection with the Marshall plan and other programs aimed at facilitating recovery in Europe; that some method utilizing leaves of absence from regular work during periods of government service might be feasible and might be encouraged.

    It was the sense of the Committee that scientists would willingly provide their services for suitable intermittent periods of time provided the matter was not overdone and did not result in their being called upon to serve on numerous committees all engaged in the same or similar activity with resultant overlapping, duplication of effort and waste of time.

8. Miscellaneous:

  1. The Chairman inquired as to the status of plans for a bronze plaque in the Institute Building in recognition of donors to the building fund. He urged that efforts to complete the installation be renewed.

  2. The Chairman inquired as to the status of the suggestion of providing membership cards to AIP members.

    On motion duly seconded and carried unanimously


    That suitable cards approximately 2 1/4" X 3 3/8" be procured and issued for the year 1948 to members in good standing as of a date convenient to the preparation and issuance of such cards.

9. Adjournment:

The meeting adjourned at 4:10 p.m.