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Executive Committee of the American Institute of Physics

Minutes of Meeting

December 2, 1956

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

AIP Staff Present: H. A. Barton; Wallace Waterfall; M. M. Johnson

The Chairman called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m.

1. Minutes

The minutes of the meeting of October 26, 1956, were approved as circulated.

2. Progress on New Building

The Secretary reported that the general contract for remodeling the building had been awarded verbally to James E. Mitchell & Son, Builders, on the basis of cost plus a fixed fee of $15,000.00. A standard AIA contract form is now being prepared and will be signed as soon as it is ready and has been checked by our attorney. Definite quotations are now being obtained by Mitchell and we will then be in a position to look for price concessions from our friend and to decide what cutting will be necessary to stay within our budget. If we cannot afford some of the things we believe we need, we can leave them out with the hope of adding them later.

We will take possession of the new property officially on January 2, 1957, at which time we must pay the present owners approximately $128,000 in addition to the $30,000 already paid, and assume responsibility for mortgage of approximately $122,000 due in 1960. We have received $40,000 to date from the purchaser of our present building and will receive another $60,000 on delivery of the deed next June. In addition we will receive a $200,000 purchase money mortgage payable in one year. We will need a substantial sum of money for remodeling during the next six months. Our present cash position is good and whether or not we will have to do any short-term borrowing will depend upon early receipts from our fund-raising drive.

We are keeping our eyes on the vacant lot adjoining the new property. Our real estate agent tells us that the asking price for it has been raised to $230,000 but he believes it can be had for $180,000.00. We have hopes that some friend can be persuaded to buy it and hold it for our future use. Our interest in the property is being kept as confidential as possible.

The Director brought up the question of a name for the new building. Dean Pegram had suggested that the stake of the Member Societies in the project might be emphasized by calling it the “Physics Building” and the Director added bronze plaques representing the Member Societies might be displayed prominently in the first floor reception room. The members of the Committee appeared to look favorably upon these suggestions and they were referred to the Committee to Handle AIP Property Sale and Purchase Transactions.

3. Fund Raising Campaign

The Director said it was too early to expect any substantial returns but, as of November 29, about $14,000 had been received, mainly from individuals. Big contributions from large companies take time for processing but the Director said he knew of about $50,000 which was “in the bag.” Both the Director and the Chairman said that Mr. Mervin Kelly had expressed optimism about obtaining the sum we expect from industry.

The Director explained that Mr. Klopsteg had started his work on the fund raising drive. The Director also explained what is planned on follow-up letters and on stories in “Physics Today” to encourage contributions. This was followed by discussion and suggestions made by Committee members were noted.

4. Copy Handling Charge for Advertising in Member Society Journals

The Secretary called attention to the fact that the Institute contract with Member Societies indicates that the Institute is to receive a twenty-five per cent commission on advertising sales, plus a copy handling charge not to exceed ten per cent. Since the contract went into effect on January 1, 1955, the copy handling charge has been held at ten per cent. The Secretary said that a recent check on our costs for this service indicated they were running a little under seven per cent and he suggested that the charge be fixed at seven per cent, beginning in January 1957, and continuing at that rate until further notice, costs to be reviewed annually. After brief discussion the following motion was made, seconded and passed without dissenting vote:

MOVED that the copy handling charge to Member Societies for advertising carried in their journals be reduced from ten per cent to seven per cent beginning January 1, 1957, and continued at that rate until further notice.

5. AIP Pension Plan

The Secretary reported that members of the Pension Administrative Committee had met again with attorneys and a new draft of the plan was presented for consideration. Since the legal document covering the plan was somewhat formidable, it was agreed that copies should be distributed among Committee members who would read it and submit whatever comments they have to the Secretary by December 15. The Secretary said that the attorney had requested approval of the plan in principle by the Committee and authorization to submit it to the U.S. Treasury Department for consideration. During this process some minor changes may be necessary and we must also obtain permission to convert from AIP employees who are on the present plan.

During the discussion which followed, Mr. Knowles asked whether the Institute had any concern about employees accepting the new plan and the Secretary replied that we expected no difficulties. He pointed out that Miss Setze and Mr. Waterfall now have special pension arrangements with the Institute and would lose under the new plan unless some special provision is made for them. This can probably be worked out by special insurance coverage which will be presented to the Executive Committee for approval at the time the new pension plan is presented for formal adoption.

After further discussion the following motion was made, seconded and carried without dissenting vote, subject to confirmation by mail ballot on approximately December 15:

MOVED that the “American Institute of Physics Amended Retirement Plan,” as presented at this meeting, be approved in principle and legal counsel be authorized to submit it for approval of the U.S. Treasury Department, in substantially the form presented to this meeting, with the understanding that minor changes in the Plan may be made in order to improve the plan and obtain such approval.

(The above motion subsequently confirmed unanimously by mail ballot.)

6. Financial Statement for Third Quarter 1956 and Budget 1957

The Treasurer distributed copies of the statement and proposed budget and explained the various items (copy attached). He called attention to the fact that the anticipated net income for the current year was about $53,000 better than what had been budgeted. Increased advertising income accounted for more than $30,000 of this difference and subscription income from Institute journals was nearly $15,000 more than anticipated. Income from Special Projects such as the 25th Anniversary meeting and the Temperature Symposium volumes had also been much greater than anticipated. Mr. Knowles commented that, although the net income anticipated for 1956 was gratifying, the difference between that figure and the budget for the year looked like bad budgeting. The Secretary replied that the staff was very much concerned about this and had gone back over their budget figures for 1956 to see if there were items which should have been anticipated. Some additional revenue from advertising was expected but we had had no indication that “Physics Today” advertising, largely help wanted, would increase by nearly 200 pages. The staff should probably have anticipated part of the increased subscription income but it was greater than could have been predicted from the past performance chart which the Secretary displayed. The staff is studying its budgeting methods, aiming for greater accuracy in the future.

In commenting on the proposed budget for 1957, the Treasurer said that allowance had been made for a four per cent increase in printing and mailing costs necessitated by Lancaster Press’ new labor contract and for an increase of ten per cent in engraving costs. $20,000 was included for the recently-authorized physics educational program and additional funds were included for expanding the activities of our Public Relations Department. Increased income from subscriptions had been budgeted partly because of the $3.00 increase in the price of “The Journal of Chemical Physics.” Because of what happened in 1956, the staff frankly did not know what to expect from advertising in 1957 so the budget for that year is based on the same number of pages as 1956. The anticipated revenue from these pages is slightly less because of the increased cost of manufacture. The high anticipated income from Special Projects is based on what we know at the present time and includes a guess on royalties from the new AIP “Handbook” which McGraw-Hill promises to put on sale the end of January.

The Treasurer commented briefly on the budgets for the four Institute journals, pointing out that the page budget for JCP for 1957 was 3,100 pages, approximately 400 more than would be published in 1956. He called attention to the fact that “Physics Today” would almost certainly live up to the prediction made for it earlier in the year. Advertising income from PT in 1956 will apparently equal the cost of producing and distributing the magazine so that the net cost to the Institute will be nothing. The proposed budget for PT for 1957 includes fifty additional text pages recommended by the PT Advisory Board, honoraria for invited articles as recommended by the Board, and some increased clerical assistance.

The Secretary pointed out that our expectation of moving to new quarters approximately June 1 presented some budget problems about which the staff could only guess. We have assumed that maintenance of the new building will cost approximately $25,000 per year as compared to $15,000 in our present building. We will need some new furniture and equipment but do not yet know how much and $10,000 was included for this item and other equipment. We expect to receive $16,500 from IBM for rental of the top floor but there will probably be taxes to pay on that and also on the rest of the building for at least part of the year until we obtain tax exemption.

After some discussion of various other details of the financial statement and proposed budget the following motion was made, seconded and passed without dissenting vote:

MOVED that the financial report be accepted and that the proposed budget for 1957 be adopted.

7. Reports of Editors of JAP, JCP, RSI and PT

The Director presented a report from the Editor of JAP and read excerpts therefrom. The journal is up to date on manuscripts and has no backlog. Its principal problem is that it has broad coverage in many fields of physics. There was some discussion of this by the Committee and it was the consensus that Mr. Sproull was making good progress in formulating a policy for the journal. The Director said that our arrangement with the Editor was that we would pay him for that portion of his time which he spends on the journal at a rate based on his salary scale at the University. His University salary has been increased recently and the Director said that an appropriate increase has been included in the 1957 budget for JAP and suggested that it be specifically authorized. The following motion was made, seconded and carried without dissenting vote:

MOVED that the salary of the Editor of JAP be increased to conform with the salary he receives from his University.

The Director then reported that Mr. Sproull had tendered his resignation as Editor of JAP to take effect as soon as a suitable successor can be found. The reason given was that he must spend more time on teaching and research and will not be able to devote the necessary time to JAP. Mr. Sproull had submitted a list of suggested names for consideration in selecting his successor. These were discussed by the Executive Committee, as was also the proper qualifications for an Editor for this journal. The Chairman suggested that a committee be set up to select an Editor and invited suggestions about the membership of the committee. These were noted and the following motion was made, seconded and passed without dissenting vote:

MOVED that the Chairman be authorized to appoint a committee to select a successor to Mr. Robert Sproull as Editor of the “Journal of Applied Physics.”

The Director suggested that Mr. Sproull’s resignation be kept confidential until his successor has been selected.

The Director reported that Mr. Kuper, the Editor of RSI, had indicated that he had nothing special to report except that the number of submitted manuscripts had been increasing lately and he expected to be able to use the number of pages included for him in the 1957 budget. Mr. Kuper had not yet submitted recommendations for his Editorial Board for the coming year and the following motion was made, seconded and passed without dissenting vote:

MOVED that the Chairman be authorized to make appointments to the Editorial Board of RSI upon nomination of the Editor.

The Director said that the Editor of PT, Mr. Davis, had advised him that there was nothing new to report at this meeting.

No specific report was received from the Editor of JCP but comments about that journal appear elsewhere in these minutes.

8. Report of Committee to Study Publishing Problems in Physics

The Chairman reported that he had attended the first meeting of this Committee which had been held at the Institute offices on the preceding day. This had been attended by Messrs. Condon, Frenkiel, McKay, Hunt and Mayer as members of the Committee and Messrs. Goudsmit, Wigner, Sawyer, Barton and Waterfall had been present as guests in addition to Chairman Seitz. Mr. Seitz said he had reviewed the various publishing problems which confront the Institute as background information for the Committee, pointing out that $200,000 of the AIP Development Fund which we hope to collect is earmarked for the publishing program and plans must be formulated to use it in the most judicious manner.

After reviewing the discussion which had taken place on the previous day the Chairman reported that the Committee had passed the following motion:

MOVED that it be recommended that the AIP consider its policy and duties to include the primary publication of research results in the fields covered by the Institute, and that the inclusion of journals reporting original research among the Institute-owned and operated journals shall not be considered anomalous.

Members of the Executive Committee then entered into a lengthy discussion about the backlog of papers which is bothering “The Journal of Chemical Physics.” Mr. Mayer had promised to furnish definite information about the size of the backlog which is understood to be in the neighborhood of 1,500 pages. The Division of Chemical Physics of the American Physical Society had proposed soliciting funds from industry to finance publication of the backlog but AIP had recommended that such solicitation be deferred because it might conflict with our larger plans for fund raising. Another proposal was that funds be requested from the National Science Foundation to publish the backlog with the hope that we could find some way to keep up with the annual increase in the number of papers submitted, once the backlog has been taken care of. It was pointed out that the 1957 page budget include 400 more pages than were published in 1956 and that additional pages could be given each year if the subscription price is increased correspondingly. The consensus appeared to be that some way should be found to work off the backlog quickly so that JCP could have a clean slate and that an effort should be made to obtain the necessary funds from NSF. Accordingly, the following motion was made, seconded and carried without dissenting vote:

MOVED that the Chairman, Director and Editor be appointed a committee to draft a request for a grant from NSF to be used for publishing the present JCP backlog of papers, with the understanding that the draft will be submitted at the next meeting of the Executive Committee for approval before the request is sent to NSF.

The Chairman then reported on the proposals for new journals which had been discussed by the Committee on the preceding day and which had led to his plans for a “Journal of Fluid Physics”, a title which no one seemed to like because it appeared too restrictive for the coverage intended. Several private publishing houses had offered to start such a journal and several organizations had offered to help finance it if it were to be publishing independently, but Mr. Frenkiel said these offers had been held off because he and his associates would prefer to have the journal sponsored by AIP. Mr. Frenkiel had estimated that the journal would contain approximately 1,500 pages per year and the Director had estimated that approximately $75,000 would be needed to see the journal through its first five years and get it on a self-sustaining basis. It had been pointed out that some of the papers for this new journal would come from “The Physical Review” and from other journals now published by the Institute but a substantial number of papers would come from scattered outside journals or from reservoirs of research which is not now being published.

Attention was then directed to other needed physics journals such as are mentioned in the AIP Development Fund brochures. Then followed a discussion of the historical background of the Institute’s present publishing policies. It was pointed out that the AIP Policy Committee which had existed during and shortly after World War II had given much thought to publication policies and had recommended that publication of archival journals in specific physics fields should be left to the societies representing those fields and that the Institute should sponsor journals of more general interest cutting across all fields. JCP had been an exception to that policy and had been started by the Institute only because of the obvious need for a journal in chemical physics. Several recent attempts to transfer sponsorship of JCP from the Institute to APS so that it might become the official mouthpiece of the APS Division of Chemical Physics had been unsuccessful. It was pointed out that, should the Institute readily offer to assume the responsibility for financing new journals, the formation of appropriate new societies in physics might be deterred or the present Member Societies might find it expedient to let the Institute do what they themselves should do. After further discussion the following motion was prepared by Mr. Astin and was made, seconded and passed without dissenting vote:

MOVED that, in the implementation of the Institute’s purpose of undertaking the publication of scientific journals, it is its policy whenever it appears desirable for the advancement of physics

  1. To assist Member Societies in the publication of their journals.
  2. To assume full responsibility for such physics journals as the Member Societies request the Institute to sponsor.
  3. To initiate new physics journals which the individual Member Societies do not undertake.

Since it was recognized that the above motion contains a major policy statement, it was agreed that it should be presented for discussion and approval at the next meeting of the Governing Board. Since Mr. Frenkiel had asked for some immediate indication of the attitude of the Executive Committee toward his proposed new journal, the Director was asked to advise him of the above action.

9. Committee to Examine AIP Organization and Policies

The Chairman reported that, following the action on this subject taken at the last meeting, he had invited the Presidents of Member Societies to name members of this Committee and the following had been named:

  • For American Physical Society – H. D. Smyth
  • For Optical Society of America – I. C. Gardner
  • For Acoustical Society of America – P. M. Morse
  • For American Association of Physics Teachers – H. K. Schilling
  • For Society of Rheology – G. J. Dienes

The Chairman said he would suggest the Committee select its own chairman and proceed as it saw fit. The Committee will be offered any help it may wish from the Institute officer and staff. The Chairman said he understand that members of the Committee are already considering various suggestions which have been made about reorganization of the Institute and he expects that the Committee will propose a number of changes which will be submitted to the Governing Board of the Institute as well as to the governing bodies of the Member Societies for consideration. If bylaw changes are proposed, they will of course have to be formally presented in the prescribed manner and ratified by the Member Societies.

At 12:25 p.m. the Committee recessed for luncheon and reconvened at 1:45 p.m. in executive session. At 2:35 p.m. the Director, the Secretary and Miss Johnson rejoined the Committee.

The Chairman reported that, during the executive session, he had told the Committee of Dr. Barton’s request that a successor be found for the responsibilities of the Directorship of the Institute. Dr. Barton would like to remain associated with the Institute on perhaps a half-time basis.

10. Improvement of Physics Teaching – Staff Man

The Director recalled that $20,000 had been previously authorized and included in the 1957 budget for the employment of a staff man for the purpose indicated. The Director said that he believed a suitable candidate had been found and his qualifications were presented. The candidate appeared to be interested but there was some question whether he could obtain leave from his present employment. The Director was authorized to proceed with negotiations.

11. Proposal to the Fund for the Advancement of Education

The Director reported that, at the August conference sponsored by the Ford Fund for the Advancement of Education, Mr. Alvin Eurich, Vice President of the Fund, had expressed great interest in the use of television as a means of solving the problems caused by the shortage of science teachers. The Director said it appears that the Fund may be willing to grant the Institute a substantial sum of money for our contemplated program on the improvement of physics teaching if a study of this television aspect is included in it. The Director said he had arranged to consult with Messrs. Michels, Trytten and Eaton with the hope of coming up with a proposal which would interest FAE. At his suggestion the following motion was made, seconded and passed without dissenting vote:

MOVED that the officers of the Institute be authorized to proceed jointly with the officers of AAPT to approach the FAE for support of a program acceptable to the AAPT and designed to improve the teaching of elementary physics.

12. Oklahoma Symposium

The Chairman recalled the background on this subject and stated that he and Mr. Mervin Kelly had met in St. Louis with representatives of the Frontiers of Science Foundation of Oklahoma and had discussed various aspects of AIP sponsorship of the proposed symposium. It had been agreed that the Institute, jointly with the National Science Foundation, would sponsor a one-day symposium on “Science in Industry” to be held in Oklahoma City on June 17, 1957. Mr. Kelly has assumed the responsibility of inviting a number of prominent speakers both from this country and abroad and the Oklahoma group will pay all the costs. An invitation banquet and science exhibit are also a part of the plans. Some AIP staff help may be necessary in order to consummate arrangement details but the major planning seems to be well in hand. In view of this situation, the Chairman said he saw no need of appointing a special committee and did not propose to do so. The Executive Committee agreed with this view.

13. Distribution of “Physics Today” to Retired AIP Members

The Secretary reported that Mr. Darrow had written a letter indicating it would be desirable to send “Physics Today” without charge to retired APS members who do not now receive it. There are now 120 retired APS members who pay $1.00 per year for the “Bulletin” but receive no other APS publications.

The Secretary stated there are now 27 retired Acoustical Society members who receive “Physics Today” without charge. He explained that the Acoustical Society has approximately 60 retired members and the Executive Council of that Society has been following the policy of sending JASA to all members who request it. Twenty-seven retired members are on the list to receive JASA and they automatically receive PT because that is the only convenient way of working from our Addressograph plates.

Then followed some discussion from which it appeared to be the consensus that the Institute might well send PT to retired members of all Member Societies provided the number does not grow so large as to be burdensome economically. The staff was instructed to work out some feasible plan for accomplishing this and to present it at the next meeting along with details and costs.

14. Meeting Dates

The date of the Annual Meeting was set as Tuesday, February 26, 1957.

The date of the Governing Board meeting was set as Saturday, March 16, 1957.

The date of the next Executive Committee was set as Sunday, February 3, with the following meeting to be held on Friday, March 15, 1957.

15. AIP Medal

The Chairman said that he and the Director had discussed some appropriate way of doing honor, occasionally, to individuals who have rendered outstanding service to the Institute or to physics at large. Other awards are available for research accomplishments but there is nothing for the purpose suggested. In response to a question, the Secretary said that recent contacts with Medallic Arts Company in connection with an Acoustical Society medal had indicated that models and dies for a suitable medal could be produced for approximately $1,000.00. The price of the medals themselves would depend on the metal used. It was suggested that the AIP medal might be called the Karl Taylor Compton Medal, bearing a picture of Dr. Compton along with appropriate wording. The Director suggested the medal might not be awarded oftener than every five years and this led to the suggestion that no regular interval be established but that it be awarded only when deserved because of outstanding and generally recognized service to the Institute or to physics. The subject was left with the understanding that the Chairman would contact Mr. George Harrison for his comments and present a specific recommendation later.

16. Representative to Council on Documentation Research

The Director reported that Elmer Hutchisson (Item 14, minutes of October 26, 1956) had suggested that we delay notifying the Council on Documentation Research of his appointment as our representative until further information is available about future plans of the Council.

The meeting adjourned at 4:00 p.m.