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Executive Committee of the American Institute of Physics

Minutes of Meeting

July 6, 1957

Members Present: Frederick Seitz, Chairman; A. V. Astin; J. W. Beams; S. A. Goudsmit; H. S. Knowles; W. C. Michels; R. A. Sawyer

Absent: M. W. Zemansky

AIP Staff Present: Elmer Hutchisson; R. R. Davis; E. H. Kone; Wallace Waterfall; M. M. Johnson

The Chairman called the meeting to order at 9:25 a.m.

1. Minutes

The minutes of the meeting of May 6, 1957, were approved as circulated.

2. Report of the Director

Mr. Hutchisson reported that he had not yet had time to explore the Institute’s current position and problems in detail but he had formulated a general picture of the activities and would like to describe them as he saw them and would appreciate any comments which Committee members might wish to make. Present publishing problems include the new journal “The Physics of Fluids”, and the proposed new journal of mathematical physics, the JCP backlog, the change in editorship of JAP, and probable changes in our Russian translation program including the establishment of a new setup for “Soviet Physics – JETP”. There are still questions about the role which “Physics Today” should play in the development of the Institute and what editorial policies should be followed to make it most effective. A second general type of activity is improving public relations between the Institute and physicists and increasing the general public’s appreciation of the importance of physics. We should try to develop a recognition by the public that physics is even more essential to the nation’s welfare in peace time than in war time. The Institute should also develop a meaningful program of assistance to industry which will justify the industrial support the Institute needs.

The results of our fund-raising drive have shown that neither individual physicists nor industry appreciate sufficiently the importance of the Institute to the future development of physics. The AIP Education Program for which funds are now available offers the Institute an opportunity to participate actively in helping physics as a profession and in encouraging young people to enter the field. To this end Messrs. Gale and Kelly are joining the Institute staff on a visiting basis to carry forward the several projects now planned.

The Director said that he believed the general management of the Institute was in good shape. Moving to new quarters and increasing the staff for new projects may require some organizational changes and there will be some readjustment of our accounting procedures and charges. All indications are that the number of physicists will continue to grow and the Institute must anticipate their requirements and be prepared to serve them. Acquisition of the vacant lot next door would appear to be wise.

At intervals during the Director’s report there was some discussion by Committee members and it appeared that the Committee was generally in agreement with the points made by the Director.

3. New Building

The Secretary said he had been reassured that remodeling of the building would be completed by the end of July. The latest estimate is that the cost of remodeling will be very close to $360,000 and that the total cost, including architects and engineers fees, moving expenses and new furniture, will total a little over $400,000. A carefully made appraisal by our insurance company of the value of the remodeled building established its value at $556,000. The purchase price of the land and old building was $280,000. If this is added to the $360,000 estimated cost of the remodeling, the total is $640,000, which is the amount we will have spent for the property. If the building alone is worth $556,000, it would appear that we have only approximately $80,000 in the land itself. This is an excellent buy considering the prices that are being asked for other vacant property in the vicinity.

  1. Name of Building

    The Secretary reported that the mail ballot of the Governing Board had shown eleven members favoring “American Institute of Physics” and eight favoring “American Physics Center”. As a result of this ballot and after conferring with the Chairman, the Secretary said he had instructed the contractor to use the name “American Institute of Physics” on the outside of the building as contemplated in the architect’s original perspective.

  2. Tax Exemption

    The Secretary reported that the Institute’s attorney had already obtained real estate tax exemption on 77.4% of the assessed value of the property. This is roughly in agreement with the percentage of total floor space in the building which is to be occupied by the Institute. The assessed value of the property is $125,000. This exemption will save the Institute approximately $3,977 per year in taxes. We will pay approximately $1,180 per year in taxes on the space occupied by our tenant. The legal fee for obtaining the tax exemption was $750.

  3. Karl Taylor Compton Award and Dedication Ceremony

    The Secretary reported that the Chairman had been successful in obtaining from Mr. Alfred P. Sloan Jr. a promise of the necessary funds for appointing the Board room and for establishing a Karl Taylor Compton Award. The Chairman explained that $15,000 had been asked for each of these purposes. Mr. Sloan had shown enthusiasm for making the Board room a memorial to Compton and the Secretary displayed to the Committee a color perspective of the interior of the completed costs for finishing and furnishing the Board room are now being prepared and will probably be somewhat greater than $15,000.

    The Secretary said that Mr. Barton had obtained photographs of Compton from George Harrison, and more recently, from Mrs. Compton for use by Medallic Art Company in preparing sketches for a medal. The Secretary displayed the sketches and also several medals and gave the cost for art work and dies as estimated by Medallic Art Company. It was the consensus of the Committee that the medal should be of gold and either two inches or three inches in diameter. It was suggested that the smaller medal would be adequate and that it should be accompanied by a bronze replica encased in a plastic mold which can be used by the recipient while the gold original lies in his safe deposit box. This suggestion met with favor. It had been originally suggested that the award be accompanied by $1,000 cash and an attractive certificate. Some Committee members questioned the importance of the cash award.

    It was pointed out that the plans for the award and the donation by Mr. Sloan should be such that the award would be endowed in perpetuity.

    The Committee then discussed dedication ceremonies for the Board room and the possibility of making the first award of the Karl Taylor Compton Medal at the dedication ceremonies. There was discussion of possible recipients for the medal and one choice appeared obvious but it was agreed that it should be announced later. It was also agreed that the October 21st meeting of the Governing Board would be an ideal time to dedicate the Board room and present the medal. The ceremonies could take place at 4:00 or 5:00 o’clock in the afternoon. It was suggested that George Harrison be asked to give a talk about Compton at the dedication.

    It was pointed out that a number of details about the medal must be settled rather quickly if a model is to be ready for inspection by the Executive Committee at its September meeting. The Secretary said he had been assured by Medallic Art that, if the model is approved at that time, the actual medal will be ready for presentation by October 21st. Recognizing the desirability of obtaining Mr. Sloan’s attitude on various details of the award, the Committee authorized the Director and Secretary to arrange a meeting with Mr. Sloan to discuss the award and plans for the dedication of the Board room. The Chairman indicated he would try to be present at the meeting if possible. It was also agreed that the staff should proceed with plans for the ceremonies in consultation with the Chairman and others.

4. Fund-Raising Drive

The Secretary reported that, as of June 28, 1957, cash and pledges received from members, industry and Member Societies totaled $243,338.94 as follows:

Subscriptions from Members$43,315.95
Future Pledges from Members2,266.00
Subscriptions from Industry, funds, etc.158,400.00
Future Pledges from Industry, etc.14,500.00
Subscriptions from Societies Affiliated with AIP24,019.86
Future Pledges from AIP Societies837.13
Total Receipt and Pledges$243,338.94

The above figures include the $15,000 received from the Fund for the Advancement of Education of the Ford Foundation for the “Future Physicists Fund” and unearmarked contributions from several other foundations. In addition to the above the Institute has received the following grants or contracts for specific projects which were contemplated in our Development Fund drive:

From Fund for the Advancement of Education for program on evaluation of television in teaching physics, etc.$52,750.00
From AEC for the work of AIP Committee to Study Publishing Problems in Physics18,300.00
From NSF for study of back number inventory, etc.10,000.00
From NSF for revision of Style Manual8,200.00

In addition to the above we have requested a total of $72,500 from the Air Force for “The Physics of Fluids” journal and have been given reasonable assurance that we will get a contract covering the first part of that sometime in July. We have also approached AEC for approximately $70,000 to underwrite the costs of starting a journal of mathematical physics if and when we decide to start such a journal. AEC has indicated interest and possible support.

If all of the above figures are added together they total approximately $470,000 which is reasonably close to the $500,000 which was the goal of our AIP Development Fund. It should be pointed out, however, that much of this money is earmarked for specific projects and that it did not come from the sources we expected. We set as our goal $150,000 from individual members of the Institute and the amount received to date is only about $45,000. To this might be credited the $25,000 we received from the Member Societies but the total is still far short of our $150,000 goal. We were seeking $350,000 from industry principally, and have received approximately $174,000 to date. Only approximately $230,000 of the money received is unearmarked and from this must be deducted the cost of the campaign which, including salaries, brochures, postage, etc, amounted to $34,600. To date, therefore, we have less than $200,000 of unearmarked money for remodeling of our building.

Then followed general discussion by the Committee on what should be done about soliciting additional funds. The Chairman said he felt we should try to get an additional $100,000 and the Director said he was starting correspondence with various physicists to obtain help in soliciting contributions from industrial organization which should contribute but have not yet done so. No conclusion was reached about what should be done to obtain additional contributions from individual members beyond giving them an opportunity to subscribe when their dues bills are sent out later this year. Mr. Sawyer asked what had been the result of his letter to Optical Society Members and the Secretary reported that 43 replies had been received to date with a total of $790. The cost of the mailing was estimated at approximately $200.

In response to a question, the Secretary reported that the Institute had not yet registered under the N. Y. State law requiring registration by organizations which collect funds for charitable and educational purposes and that the Institute’s attorney was investigating the matter. He also said that there was nothing new to report on the U. S. Treasury Department’s investigation of the Institute and similar organizations regarding taxability of advertising income.

5. “The Physics of Fluids”

As indicated above the Secretary reported we had been given to believe that we would soon receive from the Office of Scientific Research of the Air Force a contract for approximately $32,000 to cover the anticipated deficit for the first 18 months operation of this new journal. F. N. Frenkiel had apparently accepted his appointment as editor and, on his recommendation, the Secretary had written letters to the eighteen following men advising them of their appointment to the Editorial Board for period indicated:

Until the end of 1958

  • W. M. Elsasser
  • J. C. Evvard
  • J. O. Hirschfelder
  • G. Kuerti
  • M. S. Plesset
  • S. A. Schaaf

Until the end of 1959

  • W. Bleakney
  • J. M. Burgers
  • J. Kaplan
  • J. G. Kirkwood
  • G. B. Schubauer
  • P. P. Wegener

Until the end of 1960

  • J. W. Beams
  • S. Chandrasekhar
  • H. L. Dryden
  • R. J. Emrich
  • A. M. Kuethe
  • E. Teller

The Secretary said he had told Mr. Frenkiel and all of the members of the Editorial Board that they were authorized to proceed with the collection and printing would be contingent upon receipt of the funds from the Air Force and that formal announcement of the publication of the journal would not be made in “Physics Today” and elsewhere until funds had been received or definitely committed. It was understood (confirmed since the meeting) that Frenkiel’s headquarters as Editor of the journal will be the Applied Physics Laboratory of Johns Hopkins University and that APL will make available enough of Frenkiel’s time for the purpose so that the Institute will have to pay little if anything for Frenkiel’s services. The Institute will, of course, reimburse APL for the cost of such secretarial assistance as Mr. Frenkiel needs and other expenses.

6. Committee on Publishing Problems in Physics

The Chairman reported that the Committee had pressed for funds to take care of the JCP backlog and assure more prompt publication of articles. It now appeared, however, that a substantial part of the delay may be due to reviewers and procedures in the Editor’s office and the Chairman suggested that editors of all journals should be urged to investigate their procedures and speed them up so that the time between receipt of manuscripts and their publication would be something under six months.

The Chairman said there was nothing new to report on the proposed journal of mathematical physics except that Mr. Schiff is expected back in this country during the following week and it is hoped that Mr. Condon can schedule a meeting of his Committee in September close to the time of the next Executive Committee meeting. The Chairman said there had also been discussion of a journal in the field of health physics but he did not expect anything to develop on that subject soon.

7. Kittel Suggestions on “Physics Today”

The Chairman said he had received a letter from Mr. Kittel, a member of our Board, suggesting that he would be willing to try to obtain about six fresh and interesting articles on solid state physics during the coming year to be published in “Physics Today”. The Chairman suggested that he thought such articles and perhaps others in fields such as nuclear physics would be good for PT. The Chairman said he had written Mr. Davis on the subject and felt that it should be discussed more fully at this meeting.

Mr. Davis said he had thought Mr. Kittel was suggesting essentially research papers and he had not been enthusiastic about the idea because it would mean a distinct change in the editorial policy of PT and might initiate a flood of papers which would upset the PT budget. Mr. Davis said that he and others had for years tried to get good review papers for PT and had offered $100 honoraria without much success. Mr. Davis said he preferred the idea of column commentaries by prominent physicists on research activities in various fields. In general, Mr. Davis expressed the opinion that a PT article is better if it reports on other peoples’ work rather than that of the writer. After some further discussion it was agreed that Mr. Davis should write to Mr. Kittel and see if some arrangement could be worked out whereby Mr. Kittel would attempt to prepare or obtain approximately six articles for PT during the coming year and it was suggested that $200 be offered for each article. It was also agreed that the Chairman would write to Mr. Kittel and help Mr. Davis work out some arrangement whereby Mr. Kittel’s prestige and enthusiasm could be utilized in obtaining articles which would fit into the editorial policy which Mr. Davis believes correct for PT.

At 12:00 noon the meeting recessed for luncheon. After returning to the building the Committee was taken on a tour of the new quarters and then reconvened at 1:45 p.m.

8. Report of Committee to Study Revision of AIP Bylaws

Mr. Beams reported that Mr. Barton and the Institute’s attorney and others had been working on a suggested revision of the bylaws and their suggestions had been received only a few days before the present meeting, too late to obtain opinions on them from members of his Committee. Mr. Beams said that the Committee to Examine AIP Organization and Policies had indicated that it might be appropriate to make some changes in the purpose of the Institute as stated in the bylaws but the Institute’s attorney had pointed out that the stated purposes of the Institute are a part of its Certificate of Incorporation and any change in wording would involve scrutiny by government officials of the Institute’s present tax exempt status. Furthermore, the attorney had pointed out that it is customary to state the purposes of an organization broadly so as not to restrict possible future activities and that the actual activities in which the Institute does engage are always under the control of the Governing Board. In view of these comments, Mr. Beams said that he and others were of the opinion that no change should be made in the Institute’s stated purposes.

Since Mr. Beams and his Committee had not had an opportunity to study the proposed bylaw changes in detail he asked the Secretary to review them. The Secretary then went through the proposed changes item by item and various comments were made by members of the Executive Committee which were recorded for the future use of the Committee.

After the discussion it was agreed that the presentation on the subject made at this meeting should be considered as an informal report on the staff’s suggestions to Mr. Beams’ Committee. Mr. Beams’ Committee is to consider these suggestions and submit definite recommendations to the Executive Committee in September. In the meantime the staff is to prepare suggestions for changes in the rules and submit them to Mr. Beams’ Committee so that it can report on both bylaw and rule changes at the September meeting. It is planned to distribute copies of the formal report of Mr. Smyth’s Committee along with the report of Mr. Beams’ Committee with the minutes of the September meeting of the Executive Committee.

9. Attendance of Director at Member Society Council Meetings

The Chairman reported that he had had some correspondence on this subject with the presidents of Member Societies, that some of them wished to discuss the subject with their governing bodies, and that it would take a little more time to complete formal arrangements. The Secretary suggested it would be helpful if agenda of council meetings include an item for discussion of Institute matters. This would provide a definite place on the program where the Director of the Institute could report on matters of interest to the governing body of the Society and answer any questions which might be raised.

10. Committee of Member Society Treasurers

The Secretary called attention to the fact that an AIP Finance Committee had not been appointed at the last meeting and proposed that the functions which have previously been assigned to a Finance Committee should be included in the responsibilities of this new Committee of Society Treasurers. He said that the Member Societies generally entrust their financial matters to their treasurers or to a committee of which the treasurer is a member, appointed or ex officio, and that it seemed logical therefore for the Institute to entrust its finances to the Committee of Member Society Treasurers. The Executive Committee agreed with this point of view but it was pointed out that the treasurer of a Member Society may not always be its principal financial advisor and therefore the Institute should inform the Member Societies of this new function of the Committee of Society Treasurers in case they should care to make any suggestions.

11. Agreement with Johnson Reprint Corporation

The Secretary reported that he had finally reached an agreement with Johnson Reprint Corporation whereby they will pay $10,000 over a period of one year for all of the Institute’s back number inventory of JAP and RSI up to and including 1949. This will help to relieve the warehousing situation at Lancaster and the staff may propose disposition of further quantities of back numbers after studies to be made during the coming year.

12. Review of Role of Physics in Engineering Education

The Director reported that when the report on this subject was released by a special committee several years ago it was recognized that the situation should be reviewed after two to four years. Mr. Seeger of NSF had recently written to the Institute questioning whether the committee should now be reestablished and the report reviewed. The Director said he had not yet had an opportunity to study the situation and preferred to withhold his recommendations until the next meeting.

13. AIP Role in “Danger of Fallout from Nuclear Bomb Tests”

The Secretary reported that Lloyd P. Smith had written to Mr. Barton suggesting the possibility of formation by the Institute of a committee to study conflicting opinions on this subject with the hope of arriving at some statement which could be released to the public as the opinion of physicists. The Executive Committee unanimously declined the opportunity.

14. Translation Service for American Astronomical Society

The Director reported receiving a letter from AAS requesting assistance in establishing a journal to carry the English translation of some Russian journal on astronomy. Since AAS is not now affiliated with the Institute, it was the consensus that the Institute should furnish advice but not undertake to manage such a new translation journal. It was pointed out that AAS might eventually fit into the Institute framework as an “Associate Member Society” if the changes in our bylaws now being considered are adopted. This suggestion received favorable response and it was agreed it should be followed up at the appropriate time.

15. International Semiconductor Conference

The Secretary said he had received word that a conference on this subject was scheduled to be held in Rochester on August 18-22 and there appeared some possibility that publication of the Proceedings might be turned over to JAP. Editor Krumhansl had expressed enthusiasm for the idea.

16. Staff Men for Physics Education Projects

The Director reported that Grant O. Gale would be present in New York City as a staff member of the Institute beginning July 8 and that W. C. Kelly would come to New York early in August. Both men have been active on their jobs since July 1 working out of their university offices. A meeting with them and the Advisory Committee was being planned soon.

17. Oklahoma City Symposium on “Science, Industry and Education”

The Chairman, Director and Secretary all commented briefly on their experiences in Oklahoma City and said they believed the Symposium had been well received and that it was a worthwhile activity for the Institute. The Secretary said that similar opinions had been expressed in letters which he had received from participants in the Symposium. It was reported that approximately 3,000 persons had attended the one-day Symposium which was held in the Oklahoma City Municipal Auditorium. The Secretary said that the Institute had assumed the responsibility of cleaning up financial arrangements with the speakers, would pay travelling expenses and honoraria and would then be reimbursed by the Frontiers of Science Foundation of Oklahoma. At that time the Institute would receive the $10,000 contribution to the AIP Development Fund promised by the Foundation. Mr. McGee of Oklahoma City had also agreed that one of his Companies would become an associate of the Institute and the Secretary is writing him on the subject.

18. Advisory Committee for Physics to the National Bureau of Standards

The Secretary reported receipt of a letter from Mr. Lindsay, Chairman of the Committee, recommending the membership of the Committee and of the different panels. The Chairman pointed out that this whole Committee had been a Committee of individuals recommended by AIP but not an official AIP Committee. He expressed the opinion that it should now be made an official AIP Committee and requested to make periodic reports to the Board. The Executive Committee agreed with this recommendation and approved the membership of the Committee as appended to these minutes.

Mr. Astin gave some background information about various NBS advisory committees and said that pending legislation might change their organization and the framework through which they operate.

19. Next Meeting

It was agreed that the next meeting of the Executive Committee should be held at the offices of the Institute on Saturday, September 14 as previously planned.

The meeting adjourned at 3:40 p.m.