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Executive Committee of the American Institute of Physics

Minutes of Meeting

May 25, 1950

Present: George R. Harrison (Chairman), Gaylord P. Harnwell, F. Wheeler Loomis, George B. Pegram, John C. Steinberg

Guest: James B. Fisk, Chairman of the Committee on Situation of and Prospects for Physics Today

AIP Staff: Henry A. Barton, Wallace Waterfall, Betty Hofstadter

The Executive Committee met at the Institute Building at 9:30 a.m. on May 25, 1950.

1. Minutes:

On motion made, seconded, and carried, the minutes of the meeting of April 1, 1950 were approved as distributed.

2. Request from Committee on International Scientific Publication:

Mr. Barton presented a letter from the Committee on International Scientific Publication requesting that the Institute cooperate in their program of distributing bulletins in the various fields of science to Latin America and other countries. It was agreed that this would be a worthwhile project but that it would require a considerable expenditure of staff time now fully required for other more urgent matters. It was decided that unless funds are made available to employ additional help, the request must be denied at this time.

3. Physical Review Cumulative Index:

Mr. Waterfall reported that the American Physical Society has presented a proposal to the Office of Naval Research requesting financial assistance in the preparation of a thirty year cumulative index of the PHYSICAL REVIEW. If the proposal is accepted, the Physical Society will request that the Institute handle the entire project under a subcontract with the Society. Under such a subcontract, the Institute would be reimbursed for all expenses. Accordingly, the following motion was made, seconded, and carried:

MOVED that, if requested, the Director be authorized to sign a contract with the American Physical Society covering the preparation of a thirty-year cumulative index of the PHYSICAL REVIEW, and also such other contracts with suppliers as are necessary to complete the assignment.

4. Request from APS for Price Information:

Mr. Barton reported receipt of a letter from the Secretary of the American Physical Society requesting that the Society be notified of any increases in subscription prices of AIP journals before their price cards are prepared in August. It was the opinion of the Committee that present prices should stand until January 1951 and that in case of increases the Physical Society would be given ample notice.

5. APS In Lieu Prices:

It was reported that when the subscription rate to JAP is raised in August, the American Physical Society “in lieu” price for this journal will be $4.00 below the member rate. It was pointed out that this situation would be difficult to justify and after considerable discussion the following motion was made, seconded, and carried:

MOVED that the American Physical Society be advised that the Institute does not feel justified in continuing the present “in lieu” price on JAP after the subscription rate is raised and that it will be necessary to raise the “in lieu” rate from $6.00 to $9.00 on January 1, 1952.

6. Report on First Quarter Operations:

Copies of first quarter statement of operations were distributed. It was pointed out that advertising is running below the amount budgeted and that the deficit on PHYSICS TODAY is running over the amount budgeted. These deficits may be somewhat offset by lesser costs than anticipated in working off backlogs of JAP and JCP. It was also pointed out that first quarter operations are not truly indicative of what is to be expected for the rest of the year and no definite conclusions should be drawn at this time.


  1. Financial Forecast. Mr. Waterfall presented figures which had been prepared to show the financial effects of various circulation figures for PHYSICS TODAY if present style, format, and editorial setup are continued. This information was given as a background for Mr. Fisk’s report.
  2. Report of Committee on Physics Today. Mr. Fisk reported that his committee has agreed that PHYSICS TODAY, as now produced, is a good journal and that the Editor has done a fine job in building it to its present stature. There are still some doubts about its being exactly what the Institute wants. Furthermore, the prospect of large continued deficits makes it mandatory that the committee survey the situation very critically.

    There was considerable discussion and the consensus was that any economies which could be made immediately without radically changing the journal, such as elimination of honoraria, should be made. It was also agreed that the Physics Today committee would consider more radical possibilities and submit recommendations at the next Executive Committee meeting.

    The Committee agreed that no group subscriptions would be offered in 1951.

8. Advertising:

The Secretary reported that the present contract with Rimbach Associates expires on August 1, 1950. The Staff is somewhat disappointed with the results of Rimbach’s efforts and has been investigating alternative methods of handling Institute advertising. After some discussion, the following motion was made, seconded, and carried:

MOVED that the AIP Staff, with the approval of the Chairman and the Treasurer, be authorized to make what it believes to be the most advantageous arrangements for handling advertising after August 1, 1950.

9. Expenditures for Promotional Activities:

The amount of money spent by the Institute in promoting circulation of the Institute journals is practically nil. The Secretary said he was convinced that some effort along this line would more than pay for itself but would involve expenditures not contemplated in the approved budget. After some discussion the Committee agreed that the Staff should start a reasonable promotional program and see what can be accomplished.

10. Physics Handbook:

The Secretary reported that he and Mr. Katcher had had discussion with McGraw-Hill about the publication of a handbook of physics to be sponsored by the Institute. McGraw-Hill made further studies, has become enthusiastic, and has submitted a proposal containing suggested royalties, estimates of sales, etc. They believe the Institute royalties during the first one and one-half years would be at least $10,000, and $35,000 during the first five years. They are willing to advance $10,000 against royalties to defray editorial expenses.

The Committee discussed the subject and it was the consensus that the idea was a good one and worth sponsoring. The following motion was made, seconded, and unanimously carried:

MOVED that the Director be authorized to sign the best possible contract with McGraw-Hill for the preparation of a physics handbook.

11. Student Sections:

Mr. Barton read a proposed plan for student sections of the Institute and after some discussion the following motion was made, seconded, and unanimously carried:

MOVED that the attached plan for student sections of the Institute be adopted and that the Staff be authorized to work out supplementary details.

12. Science Foundation:

It was reported that in various other fields of science, committees are being appointed to advise their organizations on matters pertaining to the National Science Foundation. Accordingly, the following motion was made, seconded, and carried:

MOVED that the Chairman be authorized to appoint a committee to make recommendations to the Institute regarding its contacts with the National Science Foundation.

It was suggested that a summary of the National Science Foundation Act be printed in PHYSICS TODAY as soon as possible.

In line with the activity in other fields of science and with provision of the Act, it was agreed that the Institute should make suggestions to the President regarding physics representatives on the Science Foundation Board. Accordingly, the following list was sent to the President along with a statement that members of the Board of the Institute, as well as many able administrators, has been purposely omitted from the list.

  • Luis Alvarez
  • C. C. Lauritsen
  • William Shockley
  • Robert Bacher
  • T. W. Bonner
  • Alfred O. Nier
  • Enrico Fermi
  • S. K. Allison
  • Frederick Seitz
  • George E. Uhlenbeck
  • Hans A. Bethe
  • I. I. Rabi
  • W. E. Nielsen
  • L. W. Nordheim
  • Milton G. White
  • E. P. Wigner
  • J. A. Bearden
  • J. H. Van Vleck
  • John C. Slater
  • J. R. Zacharias

13. Physics Abstracts:

Mr. Loomis reported that the APS might find it necessary to discontinue sending Physics Abstracts to all its members without charge. He asked about the possibility of the Institute’s taking over the distribution of Physics Abstracts and after some discussion the Staff was instructed to study the matter and prepare a proposal for the next meeting.

14. Next Meeting:

The date for the next meeting was set for Tuesday, August 8.

15. Adjournment:

The meeting was adjourned at 4:30 p.m.