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Executive Committee of the American Institute of Physics

Minutes of Meeting

September 24, 1953

Present: George R. Harrison, Karl K. Darrow, Frederick V. Hunt, George B. Pegram, Mark W. Zemansky

Absent: Brian O’Brien, Frederick Seitz

AIP Staff: Henry A. Barton, Wallace Waterfall, Mary Ann Lee

Chairman Harrison called the meeting to order at 10:05 a.m.

1. Minutes

On motion made and carried, the minutes of the meeting of June 4, 1953 were approved as circulated.

2. Progress on Optical Society Contract

The Secretary reported that a proposed contract had been drafted, with the help of the Institute’s attorney, and sent to Mr. Ballard. A letter from Mr. Ballard indicated approval of many features of the draft and said he would be in New York for further conversation before discussing the draft at the coming Optical Society meeting.

The Secretary summarized the provisions of the proposed contract for the information of the Executive Committee. The contract is intended to cover publication activities as well as all other services which the Institute may perform for a Member Society and also contains a clause stating the present basis on which the Societies contribute a percentage of their dues collections for the support of the Institute. The draft provides for modifications and supplemental agreements and for proper exchange of financial and other information between the Institute and the Societies.

The Executive Committee indicated general approval of progress to date.

3. Financial Statement for First Half of 1953 and New Form of Statement

The Secretary distributed copies of the financial statement for the first half of 1953 and copies of the same statement in a proposed new form. (Copies of both attached.) The financial statement was reviewed and accepted by the Committee. The Secretary explained that although the six-months’ figures show some variation from the budget, it was expected the year-end figures would be on target.

It was explained that the proposed new form of statement presents figures on operations in a more standard and detailed manner and the Committee agreed that it should be used in preparing the year-end statement and the budget for 1954.

4. Institute Housing Plans

The Secretary reviewed the progress to date on alterations previously authorized by the Committee. Air-conditioning units had been installed, including the special AC wiring required, for a little less than the $5000 authorized. On the recommendation of Vermilya-Brown, an architect (Serge Petroff) had been employed to survey possibilities of increasing usable office space, to prepare preliminary plans, and to request City Building Department approval for various alternatives. Most of this work has been finished but formal approval has not yet been obtained.

On the basis of completed drawings, Vermilya-Brown had just submitted figures on the proposed two-story addition which are considerably higher than the original estimate of $17,000. The Secretary requested further time to study the situation before proceeding with any construction and the Committee agreed. In the meantime, it has been necessary to make some plumbing and wiring changes and repairs and these are being done.

Increase of more than 20% in pages published this year over last year has caused such congestion in the Editorial Department that additional space must be provided. How this can be done by rearrangement of personnel was discussed. The Committee agreed that the Conference Room could be used as office space provided the room is not disfigured and can be readily cleared for meetings.

5. Report on By-Laws Amendment

The Secretary reported that the proposed amendment to the by-laws to change Article XI, Section 2, of the Constitution to read “Officers need not be members of the Governing Board” had been rejected by the American Physical Society and by the Optical Society, approved by the Acoustical Society and the American Association of Physics Teachers, and that no action had been taken by the Society of Rheology. The two rejections killed the amendment.

It was decided to take no further action on the matter at this time.

6. Appointment of Nominating Committee for AIP Officers

The Chairman explained that he is retiring from the Board at the next Annual Meeting of the Institute and he invited discussion of what procedure should be followed in selection of a committee to nominate Institute officers for the coming year. After discussion, it was moved, seconded, and carried that the following men be invited to form the Nominating Committee: Paul E. Klopsteg, Chairman: F. Wheeler Loomis, Gaylord P. Harnwell, Frederick V. Hunt and George R. Harrison.

7. RSI Committee Report and Question of Similar Study of JAP

The Secretary distributed two memoranda (copies attached) and reviewed the work of the committee appointed at the last Executive Committee meeting to study and make recommendations on the editorial policies of Review of Scientific Instruments and suggest a new editor.

The Executive Committee discussed the report at length. After discussion, the Executive Committee expressed general agreement with the report submitted which is considered as a progress report. The principal objective should be to increase the attractiveness of RSI to Institute members and the public in a manner consistent with the purposes of the Institute. This should logically result in increased circulation, greater attractiveness to advertisers and greater revenue from both circulation and advertising.

The Secretary then said that the editor of the Journal of Applied Physics suggested a similar study of JAP.

At this point, Dr. Barton presented a letter, delivered to him in the meeting, from Elmer Hutchisson stating his agreement with the policy changes recommended by the RSI Committee, suggesting a similar study of JAP and announcing his resignation as editor of JAP.

It was agreed that the problems facing RSI and JAP are similar and that a second committee should be appointed to study JAP. Messrs. Hutchisson and Harnwell should be members of both committees and it was left to the Chairman to appoint the other members of the JAP Committee.

8. Temperature Symposium

The Secretary distributed a memorandum (copy attached) explaining the request of OOR to the Institute to co-sponsor a temperature symposium and to undertake the publication of the proceedings. Other pertinent correspondence was also read. The Staff was instructed to go forward with arrangements to cooperate in this symposium.

9. Air Force Contract

The Air Research and Development Command has proposed that the Institute accept a contract “to assist in the evaluation of proposals as well as to provide other scientific advice to the Office of Scientific Research.” Conferences with representatives of the Command have indicated that the specific functions they want AIP to perform are:

  1. To act as paying agent for referees which AR and DC select from a list of physicists furnished by NRC to evaluate various research proposals. Twenty-five dollars is paid for each referee action and there are about 500 such referee actions per year. AIP would be allowed 15% overhead in handling such payments.
  2. To advise in the planning of research programs generally. This function appears somewhat nebulous at present. It would probably be handled through committees appointed by the Institute as occasions arise.

The majority of the Executive Committee did not favor our undertaking the paymaster function if that was to be the principal purpose of the proposed contract. There was difference of opinion as to what attitude AIP should take on assisting with the broad planning of research programs. More information would be required on the specific role to be played by AIP. It was concluded that the Staff should investigate the experience of other scientific organizations in dealing with such contracts, explore further into the future plans of AR and DC, and advise AR and DC that their proposal was under consideration and a decision would be reached later.

10. NSF Contract on Roster of Physicists

The Secretary reviewed the progress made on negotiating a contract with NSF, as authorized at the last Executive Committee meeting. A grant of $14,500 (official document received since meeting) has been agreed upon for the first year and one person has already been hired by the Institute to work on the project. Work will proceed as plans are completed and expenditures will be kept within the amount granted.

11. CENCO Medal Query

The Secretary read a letter from Central Scientific Company in which they inquired if AIP would be willing to help them give “an award of $1000 to a physicist making an outstanding contribution in instrumentation.” The Committee was willing to have the Institute administer a permanent, endowed aware, preferably named for a distinguished scientists, and given in recognition of definite and limited achievements. The Secretary was directed to communicate with CENCO accordingly.

12. Scientific Manpower Commission

With the Chairman abstaining from the vote, it was moved, seconded, and carried to select George R. Harrison to serve again as one of the Institute representatives on the Scientific Manpower Commission for a three-year term.

13. Secondary School Science Teaching

Chairman Harrison spoke about the dangerous drop in the number of qualified science teachers in secondary schools and the expected increase in this trend during the next ten years. He explained that the National Science Teachers Association has found that the principals of secondary schools must be educated to the need for the teaching of science, the encouragement of students to study science, and finally the importance in this program of having competent science teachers in secondary schools. In order to reach this influential group, the National Science Teachers Association has prepared a 58-page booklet “Selected Science Teaching Ideas of 1952” for distribution to the membership of the National Association of Secondary School Principals and asked the Institute for a contribution to assist them. The American Chemical Society and other scientific societies have already made contributions. It was moved and carried that the Institute contribute $600 to cover the cost of distribution of 2000 booklets.

14. Approval of Signatures for Custodian Account

The signatures of any two of the officers, Treasurer, Director or Assistant Treasurer, are now required for the Custodian Account. It has been found that situations arise when two of these people are not available for signature, so it was suggested that the signature of the Secretary be added to this list. Since Dean Pegram had left the meeting before this matter came up, it was moved and carried that the Executive Committee approve whatever the Treasurer recommended with regard to qualifying alternate signatures for the Custodian Account. (Dean Pegram has subsequently recommended that the Secretary’s signature be added to the Custodian Account.)

15. Appointment of Pension Committee Member to Replace Mrs. Neuberger

The Secretary recommended that Miss Ruth Bryans be appointed to fill the unexpired term of Mrs. Eileen Neuberger on the Pension Committee. It was moved, carried and so ordered.

16. Appointment of Tellers for Election of Member-at-Large

The Chairman instructed the Secretary and the Director to make up a list of names of suitable persons to be tellers for the election of the Member-at-Large and to circulate it to the Committee for approval.

17. Telegram to Speaker Martin About NSF

The Secretary gave background information and read the following telegram he had sent in the name of the Institute to Speaker Martin of the House of Representatives on July 31, 1953: “In the interest of maintaining the nation’s scientific strength we respectfully urge that HR-4689 be brought to a vote at this session of Congress.” The Secretary reported that the bill had subsequently been passed. The Committee approved the action of the Secretary.

18. Next Meeting

The next meeting was set for December 3, 1953 at which time the budgets for 1954 will be discussed.

The meeting was adjourned at 4:15 p.m.