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Executive Committee of the American Institute of Physics

Minutes of Meeting

March 23, 1958

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

Absent: J. W. Beams; H. S. Knowles

Guest: R. T. Birge

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

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

1. Minutes

The minutes of the meeting of December 14, 1957, and the special meeting of February 1, 1958, were approved as circulated.

2. Review of Agenda for Board Meeting of March 24, 1958

The items on the agenda for the Board meeting on the following day were reviewed in detail. To avoid repetition, most of the discussion has been included in the minutes of the Board meeting and only those items on which there was action or considerably more discussion than in the Board meeting are recorded in these minutes.

  1. Annual Report of AIP for 1957

    The Director said that, following the custom of previous years, he had prepared a draft of the Annual Report for the Year 1957 which the Board is required to present to the members and which he intended to submit to the Board on the following day for criticism and approval. He distributed copies of the draft to members of the Executive Committee and requested that it be reviewed in detail with the hope that, by so doing, time could be saved in the Board meeting. The draft was then read by the Director and its charts and tables were explained in detail. A number of changes and deletions were suggested by Committee members and the Director indicated that the suggested changes and those of other Board members would be made before publication. The Committee agreed to recommend the draft of the report as modified to the Board for adoption.

  2. Report of Nominating Committee

    Mr. Birge, Chairman of the Nominating Committee, said that the report of his Committee was ready for presentation to the Board on the following day. He described difficulties which his Committee had encountered because some of the new Board members were not elected until the end of January and their names were not made known to his Committee until recently. Mr. Birge suggested that the next Nominating Committee be apprised of these problems and that it also be told how many candidates the Board would like to have presented for each office to be filled.

  3. Percentage of Dues to be Paid by Member Societies in 1959

    The Secretary indicated that he thought the Executive Committee should make some recommendation to the Board on this point. He reported that the percentage had started at 15% in 1945, had been reduced to 13% in 1951, and to 10% in 1953, and had remained at 10% since then. In the discussion which followed it was suggested that the increased activities of the Institute might require raising the percentage in future years but it was the consensus that the percentage should be fixed at 10% for 1959. It was moved, seconded and passed without dissenting vote that the Executive Committee recommend to the Governing Board that the percentage be set at 10% for 1959.

  4. Appointment of Committees

    The Secretary suggested that the Executive Committee recommend to the Governing Board a slate of committees for the coming year and he submitted a list for comments and suggestions. A number of changes were made and it was agreed that the slate should be submitted to the Board for approval.

  5. Policy on Associate Member Societies

    The Secretary said that this item had been added to the Governing Board agenda to determine the opinion of Board members on what action should be taken by the staff to encourage applications from prospective Associate Member Societies. It is also desirable to find out whether the Board is in full accord with the action taken by the Executive Committee on February 1 on this subject.

3. Report of Pension Committee

The Secretary reported that the Pension Committee had had two meetings to date and that everything was going smoothly. He said the Committee had found there was no need for the special bank account for which authorization was granted at the meeting of December 14, 1957, and he suggested that the authorization be rescinded. Accordingly, the following motion was made and passed without dissenting vote:

MOVED that authorization granted for the opening of a bank account at Bankers Trust Company in the name of the Pension Committee be withdrawn.

The Pension Committee has also discovered that the new plan, as written, needs another amendment to which the Institute’s attorney agrees. According to the plan a person up to sixty-five years of age could be employed by the Institute and could insist on retirement at age sixty-five at a minimum pension of $40 per month. Obviously, the cost of the Institute of providing such a pension for a person within a few years of retirement age would be exorbitantly high. The Secretary said that the Pension Committee recommended that the plan be amended to eliminate this possibility and the following motion was made, seconded and passed without dissenting vote:

MOVED that Article II, 2-3 (c), (iii), of the Pension Plan be amended to read: “shall be under fifty-five (55) years of age; and”.

The Secretary said he had made a check to determine whether the cost to the Institute of the pension plan, social security, group insurance and hospitalization was in line with the cost of similar “fringe benefits” to other organizations. The figures in the following table show these costs for several organizations in terms of percentage of payroll:

Name% of Payroll
Johns-Manville Corporation7.6
General Electric Company7.9

4. Proposal for a Western European Journal of Physics

The Chairman reported that the enthusiasm originally expressed abroad for such a new journal appears to be waning, and a decision is awaiting the opinion of the CERN group. He suggested that what is needed is a European Institute of Physics.

The Committee adjourned for luncheon at 12:45 p.m. and reconvened at 2:30 p.m.

5. Printer for “The Journal of Chemical Physics”

The Secretary recalled that the difficulty Lancaster Press is having in keeping up with our publishing load had been reported previously to the Executive Committee in some detail. Lancaster’s principal problem has been to obtain enough monotype operators sufficiently skilled to handle our manuscripts which are increasing both in volume and complexity. If Lancaster is to improve the time schedule on some of our journals it appears that we must find some other organization to handle at least the composition on at least one of our more difficult journals. For various reasons “The Journal of Chemical Physics” appears to be the most logical one to place elsewhere and efforts are being made to find another printer for that journal. The Secretary explained the various possibilities that are under consideration. Prices have been obtained on vari-type composition and printing by offset but costs are higher and the final result is less satisfactory. The new photographic methods of composition have been investigated but, in spite of glowing promises for the future, the best price obtained to date is 50% higher than Lancaster’s and we can find no one who is now ready to undertake the job even at the higher price. Quotations have been obtained from several other monotype houses and a number of other houses have examined our work and admitted inability to handle it. It is known that there are many monotype printers in Europe and rather attractive quotations have been received from two reputable houses in England. The possibility of having composition done in Europe and printing in this country is also being investigated. Doing part of the work in Europe is interesting because it would provide a use for soft currencies and we might increase subscriptions to our journals in European countries if we could accept soft currencies for them.

After the above explanation the Secretary reported that he was not yet in a position to recommend any solution of the problem but the staff would like to have any comments or suggestions that the Executive Committee might care to make. After some discussion by the Committee it appeared to be the consensus that the staff was proceeding in the right direction in trying to find other printing facilities for JCP and should continue investigating all of the possibilities mentioned. The Secretary said that, if a good solution involving negligible hazards presents itself, the staff plans to take immediate action. Members of the Executive Committee voiced no objection.

6. New Corporate Associates

The Secretary reported that the following organizations had requested to become Corporate Associates of the Institute and, on motion duly made and carried, they were elected:

  1. ACF Industries, Inc.
  2. Halliburton Oil Well Cementing Company
  3. The Perkin-Elmer Corporation

7. Proposed New AIP Model

As requested at the Executive Committee meeting of December 14, 1957, Mr. Michels reported that he had studied the matter and he distributed to Committee members a report (copy attached to official minutes) containing his preliminary thoughts. In summary, Mr. Michels proposed the establishment of an international medal for distinguished service to the profession of physics to be given every three to five years to persons who are neither residents nor citizens of the United States. Service to the profession should be measured in terms other than research accomplishments. The award should consist of a medal plus cash equal to approximately twice the round trip fare between the medalist’s home and the United States and the medalist would be expected to receive the award in person. The recipient should be chosen by the Governing Board on the recommendation of a committee appointed for the purpose and the award presented at some large meeting sponsored by the Institute or by Member Societies. An endowment of $16,000 to $20,000 would appear to be required.

Then followed discussion of a suitable name for the award, type of activity for which it might be presented, and the names of persons who might become candidates for such an award. It was agreed that the Executive Committee members would give further thought to the subject and discuss it again at the next meeting.

8. Evacuation Area for AIP

The Secretary reported that the staff had not had an opportunity to give any thought to this subject since the last meeting. Then followed a brief discussion in which several sites were suggested and questions were raised about what the Institute would store there other than financial and circulation records. It was agreed that the staff should ask other organizations about their plans and should continue to investigate the subject as time permits.

9. Future Meetings

Following previous custom it was agreed that dates for Executive Committee meetings for the balance of the year should be fixed at this meeting and the following dates were set:

  • Saturday June 7
  • Saturday September 13
  • Saturday December 6

It was agreed that the Executive Committee should propose to the Governing Board that its next meeting should be held on Monday, October 27, and, if this date is approved, a meeting of the Executive Committee should be held on Sunday, October 26.

10. Funds for the Future

The Director distributed copies of the preliminary draft of a study on which he had been working for the purpose of trying to determine the future financial needs of the Institute. He said that the principal purpose of the study was to prepare data on which an appeal could be made to industry for the support of the Institute’s future activities. He emphasized that the document distributed needed much further study and requested that all copies of it be returned to him at the end of the meeting. In discussing the study the Director explained that he had taken records of the growth of the Institute and its activities during the last five years or more and had attempted to project these five years into the future. From the projections made it appears obvious that the Institute must increase income from present source and/or develop new sources of income if it is to expand its activities in the service of physics and the profession as contemplated by the Director.

In the discussion which followed there appeared general agreement that a study such as the Director had undertaken was worth while and should be continued. The Director promised to report further later.

The meeting adjourned at 4:25 p.m.