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Executive Committee of the American Institute of Physics

Minutes of Meeting

October 20, 1957

Members Present: Frederick Seitz, Chairman; J. W. Beams; S. A. Goudsmit; W. C. Michels; R. A. Sawyer; M. W. Zemansky

Absent: A. V. Astin; H. S. Knowles

Guest: R. T. Birge

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

The Chairman called the meeting to order at 10:00 a.m.

1. Minutes

The minutes of the meeting of September 15, 1957, were approved as circulated.

2. Dedication Ceremony and Karl Taylor Compton Award

The Director called attention to the programs and other material which had been distributed explaining the ceremony which was to take place on the following day. He explained the arrangements which had been made to have H.R.H. Prince Philip attend the ceremony and the plans for presenting the first Karl Taylor Compton Medal to George B. Pegram.

3. Proposed Changes in AIP Constitution and Rules

Mr. Beams said that the AIP staff had prepared a revised draft of the proposed Constitution and Rules in accordance with decisions made at the September 15 meeting of the Executive Committee. This revised draft, dated September 20, 1957, had been sent to all members of the Governing Board for comments. Mr. Beams said he had received letters from Mr. Smyth and Mr. Astin suggesting a few additional changes. He then proceeded to explain these suggested changes, the principal one being for the purpose of assuring that a majority of the members of the Executive Committee would always be Board members who had been elected to the Board by the Member Societies. The Secretary then called attention to a newer draft of the Constitution and Rules, dated October 15, 1957, which had been prepared to incorporate some recent suggestions made by the Institute’s attorney. The Secretary explained that this new draft did not include any policy changes but did simplify the document by the elimination of superfluous wording.

Then followed rather lengthy discussion from which the following conclusions emerged:

  1. No change should be made in the stated purposes of the Institute because the purposes as stated in the present Constitution are generally acceptable and any change in them would automatically necessitate reexamination of our tax-exempt status by Federal officials and might result in lengthy negotiations.
  2. Provisions in the Constitution should assure that a majority of the members of the Executive Committee should be Board members elected by Member Societies.
  3. Student Sections should be retained as a class of Institute membership and the Executive Committee should be empowered to fix the dues of Student Sections so that all members thereof can be sent “Physics Today”.
  4. The present formula for determining representation of Member Societies on the Governing Board should be retained although it may be desirable to change it later if the Board becomes too large or if other unforeseen complications develop.

To implement the above conclusions the following motions were made, seconded and passed without dissenting vote:

MOVED that the first sentence of Article XIII of the proposed Constitution be amended to read: “The Governing Board shall appoint an executive committee from among the directors originally elected to the Board by the Member Societies or by the Board, subject to the condition that a majority shall be from the directors elected by the Member Societies.”

MOVED that Article IX of the proposed Rules be amended to include the following sentence: “Dues of Student Sections shall be fixed by the Executive Committee.”

MOVED that the proposed new Constitution and Rules (draft dated 10/15/57), as amended at this meeting, be presented to the Governing Board with the recommendation that it be approved by the Board and submitted to Member Societies for ratification.

(The draft of the proposed Constitution and Rules attached to the minutes of the Governing Board meeting of October 21 is the draft approved by the above motion.)

4. Publishing Problems in Physics

  1. Additional Printing Facilities

    The Director called attention to a letter he had written to all editors (copy attached) in which he explained a crisis which is developing in the printing of the physics journals of the Institute. He elaborated upon certain points made in the letter and then asked the Secretary to explain what steps were being taken to find some printer who can handle the new journal, “The Physics of Fluids”, an immediate problem, because we hope to get the first issue out in January 1958.

    The Secretary said there would be no time for a really complete survey but we are looking into four possibilities: (1) Composition by typewriter and photo-offset printing; (2) other monotype houses in the United States; (3) foreign monotype printers and (4) the possibility of printing by linotype. The Secretary said that some cost figures had been received for all of these alternatives and others were to come. Information received to date indicates that all of the large monotype houses in this country are hopelessly overloaded, typewriter composition and offset printing is prohibitive in cost for the type of work to be done, complications which we should prefer to avoid are involved in dealing with a foreign printer, and printing journals of this by linotype is possible but too expensive. There are a few smaller monotype houses in the United States who have indicated interest in our work and ability to take it on and the best immediate solution appears to be to give “The Physics of Fluids” to one of them.

    In a discussion which followed, the Secretary stated some of the prices which had been received and indicated that they were all higher than Lancaster Prices by ten per cent or more. He also pointed out that all our internal operations with respect to publishing were based on dealing with Lancaster and a change to another printer would probably involve changes in copy editing, checking of printers’ bills, handling of subscriptions, and storage and shipment of back numbers. Executive Committee members made several suggestions about other possible printers and these will be followed up by the staff. New photographic methods of typesetting were also mentioned but the Secretary said he had been unable to find any printing house which is now able to furnish quotations by such processes. The Director said that a meeting of our Publication Board, consisting of all journal editors, is to be held at Lancaster early in December to discuss publication schedules and it is possible that some journals now printed by Lancaster may have to be moved elsewhere to relieve Lancaster’s continually expanding load. At the conclusion of the discussion it appeared to be the consensus that some monotype house in the United States would be the best choice for “The Physics of Fluids” and that the staff should use its best judgment in making a selection.

  2. “The Physics of Fluids”

    The Secretary reported that, on the previous day, he had talked with Mr. Wooster of the Air Force OSR and had learned that the Institute may expect to receive $32,000 as a subsidy for this journal just as soon as the OSR contracting officers can get to it in the tremendous amount of work with which they are now confronted. Mr. Wooster said that $16,000 had been received by OSR from ONR for this purpose and that this sum is to be matched by another $16,000 from OSR funds.

  3. Proposed Journals of Mathematical Physics

    The Director reported that there is nothing new on this and we are still awaiting action on our request to the AEC for funds.

  4. Russian Translation Program

    The Director said that Mr. Robert Beyer, the new Chairman of our Advisory Board on Russian Translations, was being very helpful to the Institute in his capacity as a consultant and should be able to relieve the staff of some of its administrative problems on this program. The Secretary reported that a conference had just been held with Mr. Beyer and with Mr. O’Dette of NSF to plan for the year which is just starting. Present circulation figures on the four translation journals are as follows:

    Soviet Physics – JETP815
    Soviet Physics – Technical Physics269
    Soviet Physics – Doklady345
    Soviet Physics – Acoustics208

    Consultants Bureau, which is handling the last three journals, has been catching up on their schedule and should do better in the future. For the publication of “Soviet Physics – JETP”, the Institute still has approximately $29,000 left from the previous NSF grant and it appears that this will be enough for the coming year even though there are expected to be approximately 3,700 Russian pages as compared to 2,300 in the year just passed. Approximately $30,000 is left from the NSF grant for JTP, Doklady and Acoustics but an additional grant of approximately $45,000 will be needed for these three journals for the coming year because of their small circulation. Special efforts will be made to increase the circulation during the coming year. It is estimated that NSF grants of approximately $15,000 and $20,000 respectively will be needed for the translation of the Russian journals of crystallography and astronomy which was authorized at the last Executive Committee meeting. Mr. O’Dette has been apprised of our monetary needs for all these journals and has indicated that he hopes to be able to supply the funds. Proposals for grants are now being prepared by the Institute and will be submitted as soon as possible. It is the intention of the Institute to subcontract the crystallography and astronomy journals to Consultants Bureau.

5. New Pension Plan and Group Insurance

The Secretary reported that the new Pension Plan which had been discussed at and reported in the minutes of various Executive Committee meetings since March 1956 was now ready for formal approval with the expectation that it would be put into effect on December 1, 1957. He exhibited copies of the final document which had been approved by the US Treasury Department and were now ready for signature by appropriate Institute officers. The new Plan must first be approved by all Institute employees covered under the present Plan because it involves cashing in all insurance policies required under the present Plan except for two previously-mentioned policies for Miss Setze and Mr. Waterfall which are not a part of the present Pension Plan. A brief discussion followed in which Executive Committee members asked a number of questions and were answered. The Secretary said that the Group Life Insurance policy which would be purchased as a part of the Plan would provide death benefits of $4,000 for employees under the Plan and $1,000 for those not under the Plan. He also explained that Institute employees, with specific exceptions, will continue to be covered by Social Security as approved by the Executive Committee several years ago. At the conclusion of the discussion the Secretary presented the actions which were recommended by the Institute’s attorney and the following motions were made, seconded and passed without dissenting vote:

MOVED that the following Resolution be adopted:

RESOLVED, that the American Institute of Physics Amended Retirement Plan heretofore considered and discussed and a copy of which was ordered annexed to the minutes of this meeting be and the same hereby is adopted; and

RESOLVED FURTHER, that the Trust Agreement with the Bankers Trust Company provided for in said Plan and a copy of which was ordered annexed to the minutes of this meeting be and the same hereby is adopted; and

RESOLVED FURTHER, that the Director of the Institute and its Secretary be and they hereby are authorized and directed to execute the said Amended Retirement Plan and for and on behalf of the Institute to execute the said Trust Agreement and that the Secretary of the Institute be and he hereby is authorized and directed to certify these resolutions to the Bankers Trust Company; and

RESOLVED FURTHER, that the following five (5) persons be and they hereby are appointed members of the Pension Committee under said Amended Retirement Plan effective immediately to serve at the pleasure of the Executive Committee of the Governing Board of the Institute:

  • Mark W. Zemansky
  • Wallace Waterfall
  • Theodore Vorburger
  • Kathryn Setze
  • Brunson S. McCutchen, and said Mark W. Zemansky be and he hereby is designated as Chairman of the said Pension Committee; and

RESOLVED FURTHER, that the foregoing four resolutions shall become effective if, as and when the Secretary of the Institute receives from each present member of the insured Retirement Plan a written consent to the adoption of the Amended Retirement Plan.

MOVED that the two insurance policies on the lives of Miss Setze and Mr. Waterfall, which were authorized separately and are not a part of the Institute’s present Pension Plan, be continued.

6. Acquisition of Adjacent Property

The Secretary recalled that, at the last meeting of the Executive Committee, the staff had been authorized to start negotiating for the 41’ X 100’ vacant lot next door and explained progress to date. The owner of the lot is asking $55 per square foot. Our real estate broker thinks it is worth $40 per square foot and believes it can be purchased for some figure between that and the asking price. We have been counseled to proceed slowly and watch the situation carefully but be ready to take quick action, recognizing that fast moves are sometimes necessary on New York real estate. The fact that the Institute is the prospective buyer of the lot has been kept a secret and if it becomes necessary to make an offer, it may be desirable to make it through a third party and appropriate arrangements are under consideration. The Director pointed out the necessity of maintaining secrecy about these negotiations.

After brief discussion the following motion was made, seconded and passed without dissenting vote to enable quick action to be taken if necessary:

MOVED that the Chairman, Director and Secretary be authorized, if it becomes necessary, to spend up to $10,000 for an option to purchase the property next door at a price not greater than $200,000.00.

The Chairman pointed out that the above action was an emergency provision and that he would prefer to call a special meeting of the Executive Committee to take action on such an important matter unless a real emergency develops.

The Chairman called attention to the fact that Government agencies and others are establishing evacuation areas which might become headquarters in case of a national emergency. He indicated that the Institute might select some less vulnerable spot west of the Allegheny Mountains as a possible headquarters in an emergency and that certain material essential to the continued operation of the Institute might be stored there. The Chairman suggested that this subject be placed on the agenda for the next meeting with the thought that a committee to study the subject might be appointed.

7. Institute’s Program Brochure

The Director stated that he believed the poor response from members on our fund-raising drive was partly due to the fact that they are not aware of exactly what the Institute does. About all that members know about the Institute is that we publish journals. The Director distributed copies of an eight-page brochure which had just been prepared outlining the full program of the Institute in some detail and said he intended to use it in explaining the Institute program to the Governing Board on the following day. The Director said he intended to distribute copies of this brochure along with a letter to all members of the Institute in a final effort to obtain contributions to our Development Fund from individual physicists. Such wide distribution will be rather costly but he expects the returns will justify the cost. The brochure will also be used in contacting industry for contributions.

8. Public Relations

The Director said he was not completely satisfied with the Institute’s public relations activity. We seem to have good relations with press representatives as indicated by newspaper coverage of Society meetings and attendance of press representatives at a meeting in the Institute a few weeks ago but we have not developed the kind of program that is needed to put across to the public the major problems with which the Institute is concerned. We should have a positive program directed toward (1) increased public acceptance of the need for basic research, (2) more adequate instruction in mathematics and physics in secondary schools for all students, (3) increased financial support for advanced study in physics and other sciences, and (4) greater appreciation by the public of the role of physics in human welfare. The Director said he recognized that such a program would cost considerably more than the $20,000 per year we are now spending on public relations but he believed we should employ the talent needed to formulate such a program and then follow it as rapidly and forcefully as we can find funds for the purpose. A well-planned program, enthusiastically endorsed by the Institute, may itself attract funds from industry and others.

Then followed discussion of how the Institute’s public relations activities might be organized and the costs involved. It was obvious that unlimited funds could be spent on such a program as suggested but it appeared to be the consensus that the Institute was justified in raising its annual expenditure on public relations by some reasonable amount. As an indication of the thinking of Executive Committee members, the following motion was made, seconded and passed without dissenting vote with the understanding that further thought will be given to the subject at the next meeting when the budget for 1958 is considered:

MOVED that the staff be authorized to include up to $30,000 in the 1958 budget for an expanded public relations program as suggested by the Director.

As the first step in planning a more comprehensive public relations program the Director said he believed we should have an advisory committee composed of public relations officers of some of the large industrial organizations which are particularly friendly to the Institute. He said he hoped to be able to report progress on this matter at the next meeting.

9. Increase in Dues of Corporate Associates

The Director distributed copies of a memorandum on this subject which is quoted below:

“The dues of the Corporate Associates (previously called ‘Associates’) were increased from $175 to $250 effective January 1, 1955. For these dues, Corporate Associates receive all of the journal publications of the Institute, except the Russian translations. The price of many of the journals has been increased lately, and beginning in January, “The Physics of Fluids’ will need to be added to the list. The total of the non-member domestic subscription prices of these journals is $141.50, leaving a net balance of only $106.50 as the Corporate Associate’s contribution to the general operations of the Institute. Because of the increased price of the journals, and because of the increased non-publication activities of the Institute, additional support is needed.

“To help meet this need, it is recommended that, effective January 1, 1958, the Corporate Associates dues be set at $350 per year as a minimum. In announcing this change, the minimum nature of these dues will be stressed in the hope that some of the companies employing a large number of physicists will increase their contributions to an amount above the minimum set.”

Then followed a discussion of the memorandum in which the Director pointed out that he had considered recommending dues as high as $1,000 per year but his conversations with various people had led him to believe that such a large increase would be hazardous at the present time. The increase to $350 will nearly double the Institute’s net from each Associate and, although we may lose some, our total return should certainly be considerably higher. After further brief discussion the following motion was made, seconded and passed without dissenting vote:

MOVED that the Executive Committee recommend to the Governing Board that the Rules be amended so as to increase the minimum dues of Corporate Associates from $250 to $350 per year, effective January 1, 1958.

The meeting adjourned for luncheon at 1:12 p.m. and reconvened at 3:10 p.m.

10. “Physics Abstracts”

The Director reported that, when he was in England, he had inquired into the desirability of having the copies of “Physics Abstracts” which are distributed in this country actually printed here. Under the present procedure the copies which are printed in England take nearly a month to reach subscribers in this country and the time could be substantially decreased if proofs were flown over, reproduced here by photo-offset, and distributed from some point in the United States. Prices obtained to date indicate there would be no saving in cost but the proposed new arrangement may be desirable because of time saved. The proposition is being considered and the Institute may be asked to handle the mechanics of American distribution.

11. Next Meeting

The Secretary pointed out that the next meeting of the Executive Committee had previously been set for December 14 and he asked whether that date was satisfactory to the Committee and what the Committee wished to do about setting dates for the Governing Board meeting and other meetings early in 1958. After some discussion it was agreed that the next meeting of the Executive Committee should be on December 14 as planned and that other meeting dates should be as follows:

Annual Meeting of the CorporationFebruary 26, 1958
Executive Committee MeetingMarch 23, 1958
Governing Board MeetingMarch 24, 1958

It was pointed out that there may be need for another meeting of the Executive Committee between December 14, 1957, and March 23, 1958, and this could be decided at the December 14 meeting.

The meeting adjourned at 3:30 p.m.