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Executive Committee of the American Institute of Physics

Minutes of Meeting

March 23, 1956

Members Present: Frederick Seitz, Chairman; S. A. Goudsmit, H. S. Knowles, E. Rodgers, R. A. Sawyer, M. W. Zemansky

Member Absent: D. B. Judd

AIP Staff Present: H. A. Barton, Wallace Waterfall, Mary Johnson

Others Present: G. B. Pegram

The Chairman called the meeting to order at 2:00 p.m.

1. Minutes

The minutes of the meeting of December 10, 1955, were approved as circulated.

2. Financial Report for 1955

The Secretary exhibited the official auditor’s report for the year 1955 and stated that a copy had been sent to the Secretary of each Member Society. The final report for the year showed a net income of $8,918.39 as compared to $7,650 projected for the year at the time of the December meeting. The various items in the report agree substantially with the report which was made in detail in December and recorded in the minutes of that meeting.

3. Report of Committee on AIP Administrative Salaries, Retirement Age and Pension Plan

The Chairman summarized a report he had received from Mr. Philip Morse who had been appointed to head a committee to study this subject. The report recommended establishing 65 as retirement age, substantially increasing the base salaries of the Director and Executive Secretary, and providing greater pension benefits to the staff by increasing contributions by about 50%. The Chairman said he had discussed these recommendations with the Director and Executive Secretary and was recommending 67 as a more suitable retirement age. He also recommended that the salaries of the Director and Executive Secretary each be raised by $1,500 per year. He asked for comments on these two recommendations from the two staff officers present and also for their recommendations on the pension matter.

The Director said he was in agreement with the retirement age proposed by the Chairman but felt that it should be permissible to retire at an earlier age. He said that the proposed salary increase was quite acceptable and called attention to the fact that, with the approval of previous Board Chairmen, he was now spending approximately four-fifths of his time on Institute activities. The Director said he and the Secretary would have preferred a substantial increase in pension benefits rather than the proposed salary increase but an investigation had indicated that it would be difficult at this late date to work out any pension plan which would benefit the two staff officers very much.

The Secretary explained the preceding statement by saying that the staff had been in contact with Mr. Goodrich, who prepared the present pension plan, and had received a proposal in line with the Committee’s recommendations but did not consider it satisfactory. The proposed plan would greatly increase the average employee’s contribution without a proportionate increase in benefits and staff members consulted were opposed to it. There is also the feeling that the amount of life insurance involved in the Institute’s plan is much greater than necessary. The Secretary said that a staff committee had been appointed to see if a better plan could not be found with the hope that something can be presented late in the year.

At this point the Director, the Secretary, and Miss Johnson withdrew from the meeting to permit discussion in camera by the Executive Committee. Upon their recall, the Chairman reported that the Director and Executive Secretary had each been voted salary increases of $1,500 per year, effective April 1, 1956. Then followed some discussion of retirement age and the following motion was made, seconded and passed without dissenting vote:

MOVED that retirement of Institute staff members be permissible at age 62 and mandatory at age 67, with the understanding that principal staff members may be employed in an advisory capacity beyond age 67 on a year-to-year basis at the pleasure of the Board.

The Secretary pointed out that Jack O’Callahan, our building superintendent, is now believed to be over 65 (exact age indefinite) and suggested that his retirement be left to the discretion of the staff officers. The Executive Committee agreed to this proposal. It was also agreed that, for the purposes of the AIP Retirement Trust Agreement, the Director and Secretary shall be considered as full-time employees.

4. AIP Office of Information and Public Relations

The Director reviewed the background on this subject and said that the search for a suitable man to head this activity had been concluded by the employment of Mr. Eugene Kone. Mr. Kone was formerly with Yale University Press Bureau and, more recently, had been a partner in a public relations firm in New Haven. Mr. Kone assisted with Institue public relations activities at the 25th Anniversary Celebration where several members of the Executive Committee had had an opportunity to observe his work. Mr. Kone started with the Institute on March 1 and is employed on a two-thirds time basis at a salary of $8,000 per year. A Secretary has been employed to assist him and Mr. Kone is already working on public relations activities for the Optical, Physical, and Acoustical Societies spring meetings. Mr. Kone recognizes that publicity for Society meetings is only one phase of his work and is endeavoring to round out a complete program.

Mr. Kone was then introduced to the Committee and it was suggested that copies of his more important press releases be sent to members of the Committee.

5. Management Survey – A. T. Kearney and Company

In line with recommendations of Mr. Knowles’ committee at the last meeting, the Secretary said the staff had looked into the possibility of employing consultants to study certain Institute operations and had been advised that A. T. Kearney and Company of Chicago had made several surveys for the American Chemical Society, the results of which had been very useful. The Director and Secretary had discussed the matter at some length with Mr. Mitchell of A. T. Kearney and Company and recommended employment of that organization to study Institute procedures in determining costs of various operations, distributing charges, and handling subscriptions. Mr. Mitchell had indicated that such a survey would take approximately a month and had estimated the cost at approximately $3,600.00. It is recognized that this is a limited survey but it covers those activities on which the staff most needs help at present and should give us a good idea of the value of management consultants in our operations. After some discussion the following motion was made, seconded and passed without dissenting vote:

MOVED that the staff be authorized to proceed with the proposed management survey by A. T. Kearney and Company at a cost of approximately $3,600.00.

6. AIP Housing Problem

The Secretary reviewed what had happened since the December meeting of the Committee. The staff had been authorized to spend up to $7,000 to employ an expert to help find suitable housing for the Institute within New York City. After consideration of the problem, the staff first decided to employ an architect, Mr. J. Gordon Carr, to make a preliminary layout of office space to fit Institute operations. This would furnish us a better idea of the size of building required for an efficient arrangement of our present staff and for foreseeable future operations. This preliminary study indicated that a three-story and basement building approximately 50’ X 100’ should furnish us all the space needed for at least ten years, if properly arranged. About the time Mr. Carr’s preliminary sketches were completed, our attention was called to an available old building on East 45th Street located about 150 feet from United Nations Plaza. This building is 56’ X 100’, has a basement and three stories of that size, and a fourth floor approximately 56’ X 80’. The basement and first three floors are now occupied by a furniture factory and the fourth floor, recently remodeled, is now occupied by a department of IBM.

It is understood that the 45th Street property can be purchased for $295,000, or possibly less, and preliminary estimates indicate that a very satisfactory job of remodeling for our purposes can be done for approximately $200,000.00. It has been estimated that it would cost approximately $600,000 to build a new 50’ X 100’ three-story and basement building in the mid-Manhattan area. Vacant land in mid-Manhattan is selling for at least $40 per square foot so the total cost for land and a new building 50’ X 100’ would be approximately $800,000.00. The remodeled 45th Street property should cost not more than $500,000.00.

A new offer of $275,000 has been received for the Institute’s present property. It may be possible to get still more but property in the area is moving very rapidly, small plots are being accumulated for new large buildings and it appears that the latest offer received may be near the top price which could be expected during the present building cycle. Our property probably has its maximum value if it can be combined with adjacent properties.

Then followed discussion of the 45th Street property by the Committee. Messrs. Seitz, Zemansky and Knowles said they had visited the property that morning and were favorably impressed with its possibilities. The Chairman said he had had an opportunity that morning to tell Mr. Mervin Kelly about the property and Mr. Kelly had expressed enthusiasm for that location for the Institute.

After further discussion of many details it was moved, seconded and carried without dissenting vote that the Committee recommend that adoption of the following resolution by the Governing Board on the following day:

WHEREAS the continuing growth of Institute activities has made the Institute property at 57 East 55th Street no longer adequate for the necessary staff, and architectural studies of that property indicate that remodeling for substantially greater floor space is not economically feasible, and

WHEREAS several attractive offers have been received for the Institute property and there are some indications that these offers may be close to the peak value for the current building cycle, and

WHEREAS a property at 335 East 45th Street is available which appears to offer sufficient space for the foreseeable future and which can be purchased and remodeled for what appears to be a reasonable cost;

BE IT RESOLVED, that the Governing Board approve the sale of the Institute property at 57 East 55th Street for a sum of not less than $275,000 and authorize the purchase of the property at 335 East 45th Street for a sum of not more than $295,000.00.

RESOLVED, FURTHERMORE, that the Chairman be authorized to appoint a committee which shall have full power to complete the sale and purchase transactions within the limits specified and to make such contracts as are necessary for remodeling the property at 335 East 45th Street for occupancy by the Institute.

RESOLVED, FURTHERMORE, that the Chairman be authorized to appoint a committee to raise funds to cover the cost of remodeling and furnishing the new property, with a goal of approximately $250,000.00.

7. Society of Exploration Geophysicists

The Secretary reported on correspondence during the last two years which had finally led to a petition from the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) for membership in the American Institute of Physics. A copy of this petition was circulated to members of the Committee (copy attached to minutes of Governing Board meeting of March 24, 1956).

The SEG is now over twenty-five years old and has approximately 5,000 members. Last year a questionnaire was circulated to all members containing the following question:

“Geophysics being a borderline science lying between geology and physics depends greatly upon a flow of ideas from and contacts with both of the above sciences. The SEG is now a member of the American Geological Institute. Would you like the Society to be a member, in addition, of the American Institute of Physics, assuming that the mechanics of admission could be worked out satisfactorily?”

Of the 2,629 replies received from members, 60% voted in favor of membership in AIP, 8% voted against it, and 32% expressed no opinion. As a result of the questionnaire the Executive Committee of SEG voted to submit the petition for membership in the Institute. As a Negotiating Committee, SEG appointed the following members, most of whom are well known physicists:

  • Norman Ricker, Chairman
  • C. B. Bazzoni
  • D. H. Clewell
  • Maurice Ewing
  • L. Y. Faust
  • Sigmund Hammer
  • D. S. Hughes
  • L. B. Slichter

The Secretary presented various publications of SEG including their Constitution and Bylaws, their financial statement for last year, and a copy of their publication, “Geophysics”. SEG now has an office in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and a small staff which handles the business affairs of the Society and the details of their publications. SEG does not expect AIP to take over any of these operations, at least for the present, but may want the Institute’s help in publishing an English translation journal including the contents of a Soviet publication on geophysics. SEG understands that membership in the Institute would necessitate their paying 10% of dues collected into the Institute treasury; this would currently amount to approximately $3,500 annually. The cost of sending “Physics Today” to the 5,000 members of SEG is estimated at about $7,000 annually. It is the opinion of the AIP staff that this increased circulation of “Physics Today” would make it possible to increase the advertising rates and would open up new advertising prospects in the petroleum industry which could easily off-set the added cost of sending “Physics Today” to the SEG members.

Then followed lengthy discussion by members of the Executive Committee of the pros and cons of having SEG as a member of the Institute. SEG is probably more closely allied to industry than are any of the present Member Societies of the Institute. It is understood that only approximately 3% of SEG members are now members of AIP, but physics is apparently playing an increasingly important role in exploration geophysics and the members of SEG are conscious of that trend. SEG is a stable organization with a long history and a substantial number of the members who are prominent in SEG activities are highly regarded as physicists. After further discussion and a review of the procedure specified in the Institute’s Bylaws for the admission of a new Member Society, the following motion was made, seconded and passed unanimously:

MOVED that the Executive Committee recommend to the Governing Board that it nominate the Society of Exploration Geophysicists for membership in the Institute.

The Chairman and other then discussed the possibility of other groups becoming Member Societies or Affiliates of the Institute. The American Nuclear Society was mentioned and the Chairman told of his discussion with members of that Society. Still unorganized groups in the fields of biophysics, health physics, and radio physics were discussed and it was agreed that their progress would be watched with interest.

8. Journal of the Electrochemical Society

The Secretary stated that representatives of the Electrochemical Society had approached the Institute to inquire whether the Institute would be willing to provide editorial mechanics services for their journal. The journal is now being published by Waverly Press and the Society has a New York office which manages the journal but is not suitably staffed to handle manuscripts. The Society representatives indicated that the Society is not considering application for membership in the Institute but wants to buy only editorial mechanics services without any other change in their setup. The Institute staff has considered the matter, does not believe such an arrangement would be satisfactory, and recommends against it. After brief discussion the following motion was made, seconded and passed unanimously:

MOVED that the Institute do not offer to provide editorial mechanics services for the Journal of the Electrochemical Society.

9. Request for Grant from NSF for Publishing English Translations of Various Soviet Physics Journals

The Secretary explained that the Institute is now publishing “Soviet Physics – JETP” under a grant of $40,000 from the National Science Foundation and that the operation is going smoothly at the editorial office at Brown University. Indications are that the Russian journal will be expanded substantially in 1956 and therefore it will be necessary to request a larger grant from NSF for the second year’s operation and request a suitable grant from NSF. Because of the increased number of Russian pages the subscription price of the English translation journal will have to be increased proportionately.

At the January 31, 1956, meeting of the AIP Advisory Board on Russian Translations, representatives of NSF urged that the Board recommend that the Institute undertake to publish English translations of other Soviet physics journals and indicated a willingness to underwrite this additional work. It was pointed out that Brown University is unwilling to increase the scope of its project but that arrangements can be made with Consultants Bureau in New York City to handle all of the new work contemplated. The AIP staff had indicated reluctance to expand the activity in this field so rapidly, particularly because the ability of Consultants Bureau to handle such a volume of work is an unknown quantity and we do not know to whom we could turn if they should fail. With full realization of this uncertainty Mr. Thompson of NSF sad that he still urged us to undertake the project. Accordingly, the Advisory Board had recommended that the AIP propose to the National Science Foundation that a grant be made to the Institute to issue translations of four additional Russian-language journals in physics, namely:

  • Journal of Technical Physics
  • Physics sections of Doklady
  • The new Soviet acoustics journal
  • The new Soviet atomic energy journal

The Secretary said that information is not yet available about the new Soviet atomic energy journal but that data has been obtained for the other three Societ journals recommended and that a proposal has been prepared requesting a grant of $70,000 from NSF to underwrite the publication of English translations of these three journals for a year. Some changes in the estimate may be necessary as Soviet publication plans change but the Institute has been assured by NSF representatives that we will have the continued support of the Foundation. The staff proposes to handle this new project on the basis that NSF will pay all costs, less subscription income, and allow the Institute a reasonable fee for administrative services. The free included in the current proposal is $8,000.00.

After some discussion the following motion was made, seconded and passed without dissenting vote:

MOVED that the staff be authorized to proceed with negotiations with the National Science Foundation and others in the matter of publishing English translations of additional Soviet physics journals as recommended by the AIP Advisory Board on Russian Translations.

10. Request for Grant from NSF for Support of Work by Committee on Teaching Materials for High School Physics

The director reported that, at the instigation of the American Association of Physics Teachers, a joint committee consisting of representatives of AIP, AAPT, and the National Science Foundation would be willing to support the work, the Committee had outlined a program, and had asked the Institute to request from NSF and administer a grant of $3,450.00. Since this subject has been discussed previously, the Director said he had assumed that the Executive Committee would approve of such action and he had requested the grant from NSF. He asked that the Committee give its approval. The following motion was made, seconded and passed without dissenting vote:

MOVED that the Executive Committee approve the action taken by the staff in requesting a grant from the National Science Foundation for purposes indicated in the preceding discussion.

11. Election of New Associates

Applications an initial dues payments having been received from the following organizations, it was moved, seconded and unanimously passed that they be elected Associates of the Institute:

  • Philadelphia Electric Co.
  • General Dynamics Corp., General Atomic Div.
  • Atomics International Div. North American Aviation, Inc.
  • Chrysler Corporation
  • U.S. Steel Corporation

Several other prospective Associates were suggested by members of the Executive Committee and they will be followed up by the staff.

12. Next Meeting

The date of the next meeting of the Executive Committee was set for May 12, 1956, at 9:00 a.m.

13. Travel Expenses of AIP-Appointed Representatives

The Director recalled that the Committee had previously discussed this subject and had decided against payment of such expenses but he believed an exception should be made in the case of Mr. Buchta. Mr. Buchta has just been made Chairman of the AAAS Steering Committee which is handling the important Science Teaching Improvement Program. As recommended by the Director the following motion was made, seconded and passed without dissenting vote:

MOVED that Mr. Buchta’s travel expenses in connection with the work of the previously-discussed Committee be paid by the Institute.

14. Federation of American Scientists

The Secretary reported that he had received a letter from FAS inquiring on what terms the Institute would permit them to use the AIP mailing list for membership solicitation purposes. The charge usually made for addressing envelopes to the AIP list is $20 per thousand names. This is considerably more than the cost and lower prices have occasionally been charged where the nature of the intended use appeared to warrant it. Information at hand indicates that FAS is not a tax-exempt organization. After brief discussion it was the consensus of the Executive Committee that no special concession should be made and that we should offer to address envelopes for FAS at the regular rate of $20 per thousand.

15. Journal of Mathematical Physics

The Chairman said he had been approached by a group who is interested in starting a new journal of mathematical physics. The Institute or the American Physical Society would be logical organizations to sponsor such a journal but, it neither of these is interested, Academic Press has indicated a willingness to do so and they believe they can publish approximately 1,500 pages per year and break even. The Director suggested that a committee be appointed to study the question and report back to the Executive Committee at the next meeting. The Chairman agreed to this proposal and appointed Mr. Goudsmit as chairman of the committee with the understanding that the committee would include Mr. L. I. Schiff and others who would be named later.

16. Physics in High Schools

The director said that current study of the shortage of physicists had highlighted the importance of proper teaching of physics in secondary schools. This subject is being given consideration by several groups and Mr. Zemansky had been asked to summarize the activity for the Governing Board on the following day. The director said that the importance of this work might well justify the Institute in seeking funds which could be used for the short-time employment of some capable person to organize and push activity in this field. It was agreed that the subject should be left for further discussion after Mr. Zemansky’s report to the Governing Board on the following day.

The meeting adjourned at 6:15 p.m.