Executive Committee of the American Institute of Physics
Minutes of Meeting
January 24, 1964
Members Present: Ralph A. Sawyer – Chairman, S. A. Goudsmit, W. W. Havens, Jr., R. B. Lindsay, Vincent E. Parker, S. L. Quimby, Mary E. Warga
AIP Staff Present: Elmer Hutchisson, Wallace Waterfall, Mary M. Johnson
The Chairman called the meeting to order at 8:35 a.m.
Upon motion made, seconded and passed without dissenting vote, the minutes of the meeting of 6 December 1963 were approved with the following correction:
On attachment entitled, “Dues and Subscription Fulfillment Operations/ Cost Comparison 1964 Budget versus 1963 Projections,” the figure $2,800 for “Soviet Physics Journals: Subscription Fulfillment” should be in the “Decrease” column instead of the “Increase” column.
2. Opening of Savings Account at Bankers Trust Company
The Treasurer stated that on 7 June 1958, the Executive Committee authorized the opening of a savings account so that some interest could be earned on funds temporarily unneeded in our working account. This authorization had not been utilized until just before the end of last year when a savings account was opened at Bankers Trust Company and $400,000 deposited. We hope to realize $3,000 to $4,000 in interest before it becomes necessary to withdraw the principal.
Questioned about progress in collecting for 1964 dues and subscriptions, the Treasurer displayed a chart which indicated that 77.4% of member renewal bills were paid as of 30 December 1963, compared with 68.4% a year ago. Some members may have been irritated by our announced policy of prompt payment or discontinuance of service but we believe it is paying off and will result in lower costs when members learn that we mean business.
3. Continuation of Project on History of Recent Physics
The Director reported that W. James King, director of our project on History of Recent Physics, has expressed his intention of resigning to return to teaching. Our grant from NSF for this project will not expire until next year and we have secured the services of Charles Weiner, presently with the Department of Humanities and Social Studies at Case Institute, starting 1 August 1964.
The project on History of Quantum Physics, under the joint sponsorship of APS, the American Philosophical Society and AIP, is due to expire the middle of this year although there are still some minor tasks to be completed. Thomas Kuhn, who has been in charge of the project, wishes to be relieved of his responsibility when the present grant terminates and it has been suggested that someone in Europe might be persuaded to take on this final phase of the work on a part-time basis. The Director said AIP will join the two societies in requesting funds from NSF for three years for this purpose.
Several Committee members spoke in favor of AIP assuming responsibility for such history projects and also in favor of making the Niels Bohr Library an active agent in the collection and preservation of historical material.
Copies of a list of Grants and Contracts Received and Requested were distributed (copy attached) and the Director made the following comments about our future grant program:
NSF has asked us to taper off the Visiting Scientists Program – Foreign next year. We hope to expand the Visiting Scientists Program – Colleges.
There are at present 5,500 students in 238 Student Sections and we may ask the Bendix Corporation for increased funds for more Student Section awards.
Translation and publication of the Russian journals is a continuing operation supported by NSF but we expect to publish several of the journals without subsidy next year.
Funds for extension of the Citation Index beyond its present grant are included in the request for funds for Documentation Research.
We do not know yet whether the Apparatus Center will be continued beyond the present grant.
The Treasurer commented that our budget for 1964 assumes approximately $120,000 overhead from grants to help carry AIP overhead expense and any major change in our grant projects could seriously affect the budget.
5. New York World’s Fair Proposal
The Director reported that the Institute had been offered space in the New York World’s Fair Hall of Science, but it was felt by the staff that the cost of preparing an exhibit and the limited time in which to do so would preclude our taking advantage of it. The Executive Committee agreed, although Mr. Quimby said he would like AIP to have at least some kind of representation in the Hall of Science.
6. Corporate Associates
The Director stated he is somewhat concerned about the fact that we have only 138 Corporate Associates at the present time compared with 149 a year ago. Gross income is higher than last year – $126,000 as compared to $120,000, and net income is $93,000 whereas it was $85,000 a year ago. New prospects are being solicited and 180 letters were sent out in the middle of December. Executive Committee and Governing Board members may be requested to write supporting letters.
Election of New Corporate Associate
The Director reported that Electronic Associates, Inc., had sent us a check for $272 with their application to become a Corporate Associate of the Institute. We have billed them for $228, the difference between their contribution and the $500 minimum dues. Upon motion made, seconded and passed without dissenting vote, they were elected a Corporate Associate of the Institute on condition that the balance of their dues is received.
7. Service to Commission on College Physics
The Secretary reported that the Institute has been performing services at cost for the Commission on College Physics at the request of AAPT some time ago. Inasmuch as the CCP is not an agency of AAPT, nor does AAPT have financial responsibility for CCP, it would seem appropriate for the Institute to add an overhead fee to its charge for services for CCP as is done in the case of Associate Member Societies and Affiliates. The Secretary said the Treasurer of AAPT has agreed this proposal is reasonable, and the following motion was then made, seconded and passed without dissenting vote:
MOVED that the Institute be authorized to add an appropriate overhead fee to charges it makes to the Commission on College Physics for services performed.
8. Next Meeting
As previously reported, the next meeting of the Executive Committee will be held on Friday, 20 March 1964, in the offices of the Institute.
There will be a meeting of the Governing Board on the following day, Saturday, 21 March, at the Institute.
9. Report of Committee to Survey AIP Activities & Select Candidate for Director
The report of the special committee appointed by Chairman Sawyer “to survey the activities of the American Institute of Physics and to select a list of candidates for the position of Director,” and consisting of W. W. Havens, Jr., James T. Bergen, Stanley S. Ballard, Vincent E. Parker, Ralph A. Sawyer and R. B. Lindsay (Chairman), was presented essentially as follows:
“It is obvious that we must conduct the survey first and base the description of the job of the Director on our judgment of what shall be the proper activities of the Institute. Article II of the Constitution sets forth the purposes of the Corporation. There is no need to repeat these here. In order to be consistent with its own Constitution, the Institute must necessarily endeavor to fulfill the purposes stated. It is our first duty to judge how worth while these various activities are.
“It should first be noted that Article II does not, except for position, indicate the relative weights or priorities to be attached to the various activities. It seems reasonable to suppose, however, that the founders intended the publication activities and those related thereto to be the most important of all, without depreciating indeed the value of the others. As we review the publication activities, we find that the Institute publishes eight journals for the member societies, as well as seven of its own. Moreover, it has an active program in the translation of Russian journals. Of the total budget of $4,750,000 in 1962, somewhat over $3,000,000 was for publications. Notice should also be paid to the closely related documentation research, which will presumably grow more important as time passes. It is clear that the publication activities must be done well, and the first obligation of the Director is to assure that this shall be so. Unless the member societies can be assured that their publication needs are being met efficiently and at minimal cost by the Institute, one of the big arguments for the existence of the Institute falls to the ground. As research activity in physics increases, it is inevitable that the publication burden will grow, and the Institute will be faced with the ever-increasing demands for the publication of more material and the starting of new journals. One of the tasks of the Director is obviously to watch this situation very closely and be in a position to make suitable recommendations to the Governing Board. He will also have to give close attention to the important matters connected with the retrieval of important information.
“The other purposes listed in Article II (in addition to those connected with publication) represent an attempt on the part of the Institute to perform services for the good of physics as a whole. These can hardly be handled by the member societies as well as by a central organization like the Institute. In considering this matter, however, we must keep in mind the overwhelming fact of the existence of change. No institution like the AIP can stand still and yet maintain a strong status. If it tries to do this, it will wither away. The Director, in association with the Governing Board, must use all possible imagination in thinking up new ways of serving an ever-expanding subject like physics on the national scene. If the Institute is to thrive, it must steadily expand all its activities.
“There is indeed a fairly wide-spread feeling that the Institute should not only give increasing priority to the society service aspects (i.e. publication, membership lists, society announcements and so forth) but should actually give up the rest of its activities in order to stay out of the way of the member societies in their desire to carry out what they feel to be their particular destinies. It would appear, however, that the member societies will be ill advised to reduce the Institute to a society service organization. It seems the need for a united front in physics in this country is even greater today than when the Institute was founded. Even if this is admitted, the question still arises, ‘How can the societies protect their own interests and make their feelings known to and respected by a strong Institute?’ It has been proposed several times during the past year or so that a constitutional convention should be held to re-examine the nature of the Institute and possibly re-constitute it. This is, of course, a possible procedure, but there seems to be little hope that it would accomplish anything worth while, or at any rate anything more significant than the present special committee can accomplish in collaboration with the current Governing Board. The committee, therefore, recommends to the Executive Committee and the Governing Board that the Institute should continue to function under its present Constitution, while paying due regard to the relative importance of the various categories in Article II. Under the present structure the members of the Governing Board have full power to present the views of their respective societies whenever there is a feeling that the Institute is failing to live up to its obligations or not paying sufficient respect to the autonomy of the member societies in collaborating with them for the good of physics. It should be pointed out that it is contradictory to say that the Institute can act in a fashion contrary to the wishes of the societies if the members of the Governing Board are onto their jobs. No one questions that problems and friction will continually arise, as always happens in any federated structure. These can always be handled, however, by the usual compromises reflecting the good will of all concerned and particularly the diplomacy of a skilled Director.
“On the basis of the foregoing considerations, the committee suggests the following job description of the Director of the Institute: It shall be the task of the Director
“To handle the affairs of the Institute in such a way that all services for the member societies shall be performed with maximum efficiency and minimal expense. The Governing Board shall confer on him both the responsibility for this job and the power to carry it out. It is understood that he will have the prerogative to secure the proper assistants to whom he can delegate appropriate parts of the responsibility.
“To show interest in the affairs of the member societies by attendance at meetings, frequent conferences with society officers, showing continuing desire to work with the societies for the betterment of physics in all its phases. This implies that he must endeavor to give maximum credit to the member societies in all cases of collaborative activity. It is clear that he must be a first-class diplomat.
“To use all his imaginative powers in forwarding the various public relations activities, as well as those associated with education and manpower, documentation and so forth. In every case it should be his endeavor to draw the societies into closer cooperation with the Institute. In this connection he must thoroughly understand how to reconcile diversity and unity. He must also be prepared to collaborate effectively with officers of other scientific and cultural organizations in those interdisciplinary activities which bid fair to become an increasingly important part of the intellectual life of the nation.”
It was moved, seconded and unanimously voted that the report be accepted.
At this point the staff was excused (10:00 a.m.) and the following information was supplied by Mr. Lindsay.
The Executive Committee then went into executive session and there was further discussion of various aspects of the report. Names of possible candidates for the position of Director of the Institute were suggested. It was agreed that the chairman of the special committee (acting as secretary pro tem) should prepare a summary of the discussion and send it to the members of the Executive Committee for examination and comment.