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Executive Committee of the American Institute of Physics

Minutes of Meeting

March 24, 1948

Present: George R. Harrison (Chairman), Paul E. Klopsteg, George B. Pegram, Wallace Waterfall

Absent: E. U. Condon

Guests: R. C. Gibbs, Detlev Bronk

AIP Staff: Henry A. Barton, D. A. Katcher, Cleveland Norcross, T. Vorburger

The Executive Committee met at 9:55 a.m. on March 24, 1948 in the office of the Institute at 57 East 55th Street, New York.

1. Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting of February 6, 1948 were approved as circulated after the words “Luna Park” in Item No. 4 were changed to read “Nela Park”.

2. Mail Ballot:

The Secretary reported that a mail ballot had been taken on the wording of an announcement regarding Physics Today to be published in the first issue of that journal. The results of the ballot, however, were inconclusive and brought forth suggestions for modifications. The revised announcement, copy of which is attached, was presented for consideration of the Committee. Other modifications were suggested and it was agreed that the final wording should be left to a committee consisting of Messrs. Klopsteg and Katcher.

3. Members-at-Large:

There was discussion of the advisability of publishing in detail the results of the election of Members-at-Large. It was the consensus that a list of all nominees and a list of those elected should be published in Physics Today. The number of votes for each nominee will not appear in the announcement.

4. Final Report to the War Department:

Mr. Norcross presented the report of the committee which had been appointed at the request of the War Department to investigate and report on the use made of physicists in World War II. A few changes were suggested in the wording of the final report, copy of which is attached to the official copy of these minutes. In addition to the changes in wording, it was suggested that some mention be made in the report of the desirability of giving to civilian scientists some sort of emblem indicating national service. It was the consensus that such an emblem would reduce the pressure of uninformed public opinion that scientists should be in uniform. This report will be sent to the Research and Development Division of the War Department.

5. Reappointment of Legal Counsel:

Mr. Barton reported that the firm of Bate, Loeb, Klein & Churchill which has been providing legal service to the Institute for $500 a year would be agreeable to providing such service to all member societies of the Institute as well as the Institute itself for $600 a year. The consensus was that the societies would like to have this service and the following motion was made, seconded, and unanimously carried:

MOVED that the Institute employ legal counsel for the Institute and the Societies at $600 per year.

6. Mailing Lists:

Mr. Norcross suggested reconsideration of the policy regarding the sale of mailing lists to advertisers or others who request such a list and are willing to pay for it. The question was discussed at some length and it was the consensus of the committee that the use of such a list should be limited to Associates, publishers of scientific books, and manufacturers of scientific instruments. It was also understood that the addressing would be done at the Institute and a charge made to cover the cost of this service. The following motion was made, seconded, and unanimously carried:

MOVED that the Institute mailing list be made available to advertisers and others whose purposes are consistent with the purposes of the Institute and that an appropriate charge be made thereof.

7. Budget for PHYSICS TODAY:

Mr. Vorburger presented and circulated the budget for Physics Today for 1948. During the discussion that followed it was pointed out that in order to balance its 1948 budget the Journal Fund Committee must raise an additional $15,952. The Institute staff members present reported that they expect Physics Today will be self-supporting at the end of three years.

Mr. Katcher reviewed briefly the progress of Physics Today. He indicated that he felt the most serious flaw in the magazine will be the lack of illustrations and photographs but that to remedy this situation there would be an added expense of about $250 per month. It was the consensus of the group that if improvement could be made for as small a sum as that it should be done at least for several early issues. On motion made, seconded, and unanimously carried, it was

MOVED that the proposed 1948 budget for Physics Today be adopted. (Copy attached).

8. Policy Committee:

Chairman Harrison reviewed briefly the work of the Policy Committee since its appointment. He indicated that for the past year the work of the committee had been done primarily by Mr. Gibbs. It has become increasingly difficult to appoint persons to this committee who have the time to spend on this work and Mr. Harrison felt that the committee should be disbanded and replaced by the appointment of Mr. Gibbs and possibly others as special advisers to the Executive Committee. It was the consensus of the Executive Committee that this suggestion should be placed before the Governing Board.

9. Appointment of Committees:

The question was raised as to whether the Executive Committee has the power under the present Rules to appoint committees other than subcommittees of its own members. In order to conserve the time of the Governing Board and provide for action between meetings, it was the consensus that the Executive Committee should have the power to appoint all other committees and the Secretary was instructed to consult legal counsel and to prepare such revision to the Rules as are necessary to provide for this power.

10. National Research Council:

Mr. Detlev Bronk, Chairman of the National Research Council, joined the meeting and was invited to speak to the Committee about the work of the National Research Council. He reviewed the history and functions of NRC. He believes the principal functions are to act in a liaison capacity between government and science and to serve as a coordinating agency for the carious scientific societies and organizations. One of the weaknesses has been the relationship between NRC and organized science. The relationship has been better in some fields of science than in others and a stronger tie with the physical sciences would be welcome and should benefit all parties. The social sciences are becoming increasingly important to the physical sciences and they could logically meet through the offices of NRC. Mr. Bronk indicated NRC would like to be of greater service to the Institute and its member societies. He felt the Institute should be able to say how better than he and he would welcome any ideas. As one possibility, he suggested that space might be provided in the NAS Building for a Washington Office for AIP.

There was considerable discussion of Mr. Bronk’s comments. It was pointed out that we all should avoid multiplying organizations and commitess unless there is some real need for them. The Chairman thanked Mr. Bronk for his comments and indicated the Institute would consider his remarks carefully and see what suggestions could be developed.

(The Committee adjourned for lunch at 12:45 and reconvened at 2:30)

11. Associate Membership:

There was some discussion as to whether the qualifications for Associate Members should be made more stringent. At present, Associate Membership is available to anyone interested in physics and approved by the committee designated by the Governing Board for this purpose. Associate Members will receive Physics Today and in addition have the privilege of subscribing to other Institute journals at reduced rates. There was some question in the minds of the committee members as to whether one can question the interest in physics of an applicant and whether the privilege of reduced price subscriptions should be continued. The following motion was made, seconded, and unanimously carried:

MOVED that the Chairman appoint a committee to investigate the matter of qualifications of Associate Members and the subscription rates available to them for journals other than Physics Today.

12. Advertising and Fund Raising:

Mr. Barton reported that the Journal Fund Committee had very recently been enlarged and reactivated, 166 companies had been assigned to canvassers, and one contribution had been received. He indicated that he was fairly optimistic about the results of the campaign.

Mr. Norcross circulated and commented briefly on the report of the Advertising Department (copy attached to official minutes). There has been a substantial increase in the amount of advertising in the first few months of 1948 and the picture is encouraging. Samples of the advertising literature on Physics Today were distributed and the committee gave its enthusiastic approval of what had been done.

13. Policy Committee:

Mr. Gibbs discussed the work of the Policy Committee and reviewed the following items covered in the minutes of the meeting of that committee of January 5, copies of which had been distributed to members of the Executive Committee. There was subsequent discussion of the following points and action taken where indicated:

  1. Legislation for a National Science Foundation.
  2. Institute representation on UNESCO.
  3. Delegates to International Union of Pure and Applied Physics.
  4. Atomic Energy Fellowships.
  5. Accreditation of Colleges – It was the consensus that a full report regarding accreditation and classification should be presented to the Governing Board.
  6. Local Sections – Desirability of local sections and cooperation with Sigma Pi Sigma should be brought to the attention of the Governing Board.
  7. Publication of Research in Physics in other magazines – It was the consensus of the Executive Committee that the Institute should make no objections to authors publishing results of physics research in other than Institute journals.
  8. Physics Today – In accordance with the recommendation of the Policy Committee, the following motion was made, seconded, and unanimously carried:

    MOVED that the Policy Committee be relieved of the responsibility given it in accordance with the Policy Committee minutes of January 26, 1946 as approved in the Executive Committee minutes of February 28, 1946, and that further administration of policy concerning Physics Today be the responsibility of the Executive Committee.

  9. Biophysics Committee – The Executive Committee agreed with the suggestion of the Policy Committee that a Committee on Biophysics should be appointed and such a committee was added to the list of committees which should be appointed.

14. Report of the Director:

Mr. Barton reported on his western trip, on which he attended meetings of the APS and ASA and visited Rice Institute, Los Alamos, California Institute of Technology, University of Southern California, Stanford, Berkeley, and University of California at Los Angeles.

From contacts made he reported that the Institute is well regarded and Physics Today is anticipated with interest. Current policy questions were discussed with most of the leading physicists of the West Coast, and their opinions have been reflected in subsequent staff actions and recommendations to the Executive Committee and Policy Committee. Some of the expenses of the trip were chargeable to other than Institute funds.

15. Cooperative Committee on Science Teaching:

Mr. Barton presented a request from the AAAS Cooperative Committee that the Institute authorize an extension of the field originally assigned to the committee for study and recommendation. After some discussion, the following motion was made, seconded, and unanimously carried:

MOVED that the Institute’s representative on the AAAS Cooperative Committee be authorized to participate in an extended program to include consideration of the possibilities of an improved instructional program at college undergraduate and graduate levels as well as primary and secondary levels.

16. Date of Next Meeting:

The date of the next meeting was set for Saturday, May 15, 1948.

17. Adjournment:

The meeting was adjourned at 5 p.m.