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Governing Board of the American Institute of Physics

Minutes of Meeting

April 1, 1950

1. The Governing Board met at the Institute Building, 57 East 55th Street, New York at 10:00 A.M.
Present: George R. Harrison (Chairman), J.W. Beams, C. Paul Boner, Wallace R. Brode, W.F. Fair, Jr., J.B. Fisk, G.P. Harnwell, Rudolph Kingslake, Paul Kirkpatrick, F. Wheeler Loomis, Philip M. Morse, George B. Pegram, Harold K. Schilling, Francis G. Slack, John C. Steinberg
Absent: W.V. Houston, Paul E. Klopsteg, J. Robert Oppenheimer, John T. Tate

AIP Staff: Henry A. Barton, Wallace Waterfall, Ruth F. Bryans, Betty Hofstadter, David A. Katcher, Theodore Vorburger

Guest: Marsh W. White

2. Report of Annual Meeting of the Corporation:

The Secretary reported the election to membership on the Governing Board at the Annual Meeting of the Corporation on February 25, 1950, as follows:

On nomination of the American Physical Society:

John T. Tate to succeed himself – term to 1953
F. Wheeler Loomis to succeed E.U. Condon – term to 1953

On nomination of the Optical Society of America:

Rudolph Kingslake to succeed A.G. Worthing – term to 1953

On nomination of the Acoustical Society of America:

C. Paul Boner to succeed Wallace Waterfall – term to 1952
John C. Steinberg to succeed Harvey Fletcher – term t0 1953

On nomination of the Society of Rheology:

W.F. Fair to succeed himself – term to 1953

On nomination of the American Association of Physics Teachers:

Francis G. Slack to succeed Larsh W. White – term to 1953

On election by all individual members of the Institute:

Gaylord P. Harnwell to succeed Luis Alvarez – term to 1953

The Secretary reported that a mail ballot had been taken to fill the vacancy on the Board created by the resignation of Mr. Loomis as a member-at-large. Mr. James B. Fisk had been unanimously elected by the mail ballot to succeed Mr. Loomis. On motion made, seconded, and unanimously carried, the mail ballot was confirmed.

The Chairman welcomed the new members of the Board and declared the following to be the full membership of the Board until 1951 Annual Meeting of the Corporation:

Nominated By - Term Expires
American Physical Society  
W.V. Houston


J.R. Oppenheimer 1952
G.B Pegram 1952
J.T. Tate 1953
F.W. Loomis 1953
Optical Society of America  
George R. Harrison 1951
Wallace R. Brode 1952
Rudolph Kingslake 1953
Acoustical Society of America  
Philip K. Morse 1951
C. Paul Boner 1952
John C. Steinberg


Society of Rheology  
W.F. Fair Jr. 1953
American Association of Physics Teachers  
P.E. Klopsteg 1951
Paul Kirkpatrick 1952
Harold K. Schilling 1952
Francis E. Slack 1953
J.B. Fisk 1951
J.W. Beams 1952
G.P. Harnwell 1953

3. Minutes:

On motion made, seconded, and unanimously carried, the minutes of the Governing Board meeting of March 13, 1949 were approved as distributed.

4. Report of the Chairman:

The Chairman reported that the Executive Committee had been meeting at approximately two month intervals during the past year and that copies of all Executive Committee meeting minutes had been sent to all members of the Board. He also reported that the major administrative change in the Institute had been the appointment of Mr. Waterfall as Executive Secretary.

5. Report of the Secretary:

The Secretary presented an application from the American Crystallographic Association for affiliation with the Institute. It was reported that the American Society for X-Ray and Electron Diffraction, which was formerly an Affiliated Society, had joined with the Crystallographic Society of America to form this new Association. On motion made, seconded, and unanimously carried, it was voted

That the American Crystallographic Association be elected an Affiliated Society of the Institute.

The following resolutions were carried unanimously:

RESOLVED that the Board received with regret the report of death on July 30, 1949, of a Board members, Dr. A.G. Worthing.

Dr. Worthing was President of the American Association of Physics Teachers from 1941 to 1942, President of the Optical Society of America from 1941 to 1943, and a member of the Governing Board of the American Institute of Physics from 1941 until his death. At the time of his death Dr. Worthing was a Professor of physics at the University of Pittsburgh.

The Board takes this occasion to express its appreciation of the services to the Institute rendered by Dr. Worthing as a member of the Board.

RESOLVED that the Board received with regret the report of death on March 11, 1950, of a former Board member, Dr. A. J. Dempster.

Dr. Dempster was President of the American Physical Society in 1944 and a member of the Governing Board of the American Institute of Physics in 1947 and 1948. At the time of his death Dr. Dempster was  Professor of physics at the University of Chicago and Divisional Director to Argonne National Laboratory.

The Board takes this occasion to express its appreciation of the services to the Institute rendered by Dr. Dempster when he was a member of the Board.

6. Nominating Committee:

Mr. Harrison reported that he had previously appointed the following Nominating Committee to prepare a slate of officers for 1950:

J.W. Beams, Chairman
F.W. Fair, Jr.
Wallace R. Brode

The appointments were confirmed and the committee was asked to present its slate before the close of the meeting.

7. Report of the Treasurer:

The Treasurer reported that the Auditor’s Report for the year ended December 31, 1949, had been sent to the Secretary of each Member Society as he presented copies for examination by the Board. Copies of the report of the Treasurer for 1949 were distributed and discussed in some detail.

8. Report of Finance Committee:

The Secretary read the report of the Finance Committee copy of which is attached. The report was accepted for file.

9. Report of Director:

The report of the Directory, copy of which is attached to official minutes, was distributed and Mr. Barton commented on the various subjects covered in the report. Discussion centered mainly around the attached consolidated operating statement. The Director stated that his might be included in the condensed version of the report which will be published for the information for the members and asked for criticism of the form in which the statement was prepared. There were a number of suggestions made and the Director indicated that the operating statement and accompanying portions of the text would be amended before publication of the report.

Physics Today:

Mr. Barton reported that the Committee on Situation of and Prospects for Physics Today had met and he requested Mr. Fisk, Chairman of this committee, to present his report. (A Summary of the Institute’s objectives in publishing Physics Today, as prepared by Mr. Barton and given to the committee, is appended to these minutes.)

Mr. Fisk reported that his committee had been instructed to review the purposes for which Physics Today was established, survey Physics Today’s success in meeting those purposes, and recommend such changes in editorial or fiscal policy as appear to be indicated.

There was available to the committee at the Institute building much information relevant to its task. This included detailed results of a poll taken in October 1948, factual data and some comment resulting from the subscription drive in late 1949, numerous solicited and unsolicited letters on content and editorial policy of the journal, and other documents (e.g. an editorial in “Nature”) from which, the committee believes, a fair assessment of reader reaction to the journal was obtained.

These data, supplemented by opinions obtained directly by the several committee members, served as a basis for a full day’s discussion of the journal. Following are preliminary observation and conclusions:

  1. That Physics Today is generally accepted as a good venture, despite some indifferences;
  2. That it would be premature to make any major changes with respect to the journal of its editorial policy on the basis of the short experience we now have;
  3. That the objective for Physics Today as stated to the committee should be re-affirmed;
  4. That the possibilities of eliciting greater interest in the journal and making it a strong asset to the Institute, its members and friends appear to be broader than have yet been realized. For example, without now diverging from the compromise nature of Physics Today (i.e., between a pure house organ and a glamour type magazine) it is believed that the development of the journal as a forum for opinion on matters of general interest to physicists is desirable;
  5. That the financial strain of publishing Physics Today may be considerably eased by greater efforts to increase circulation and by increased efforts to obtain advertising revenue.

Mr. Fisk indicated that the general conclusion of the committee is that it is worth the effort and cost involved to have Physics Today achieve stability. He emphasized  that this is a preliminary report and that his committee will give further study to the matter.

There was considerable discussion regarding the need for Physics Today and the desirability of a journal which is sent to all members, but not conclusions were reached.

The meeting was adjourned for luncheon at 12:45 and was reconvened at 2:20 P.M.

11. Student Organizations:

Mr. Barton reported that he had circulated the Executive Committee’s recommendation regarding local sections of AIP to the members of the Board but that the comments he had received were not favorable enough to justify action. Copies of this recommendation and a modified plan proposed by Mr. White of Sigma Pi Sigma proposal is designed primarily for students. After some discussion, it was agreed that since other local physics groups can identify themselves with the Institute by becoming Affiliated Societies, any provision for local sections should be limited to student groups. Accordingly, the following motions were made, seconded, and unanimously carried:

MOVED that the best features of both the Institute and Sigma Pi Sigma plans be combined to provide for student sections of the Institute.

MOVED that the Executive Committee be authorized to amend the Rules to provide for student sections, if <…> action appears necessary.

Mr. Pegram agreed to draft a new plan combining the best features of the two proposals and submit it to the Executive Committee.

12. Anniversary Meeting:

Mr. Barton reported that the Committee on the Anniversary Meeting had met and agreed on general arrangements for the meeting. The Committee also considered several general themes for the meeting but no decision was reached and the Committee would welcome suggestions.

13. Contribution of Member Societies to the Support of the Institute:

The Director reported that, by agreement among the Member Societies in 1945, each Society offered to contribute 15% of its dues to the general support of the Institute in lieu of the overhead figure costs. Since the 15% was established it has been repeated annually by the Governing Board without charge. In view of recent increases in Society dues and other adjustments which appear possible in 1951, the percentage figure to be set for that year should be carefully considered to see if it can be reduced. The Institute’s operating budget for 1950 indicated a probable balance. The situation in 1951 can only be estimated but the financial difficulties faced by some of the member societies argue for a reduction of the percentage if at all possible.

After some discussion of the budge for 1950 and prospects for 1951, the following motion was made, seconded, and unanimously carried:

MOVED that 13% of the dues collected by each Member Society in 1950 be set as the amount to be contributed by each Society to the support of the Institute of 1951.

14. Report of the Nominating Committee:

Mr. Beams, Chairman of the Nominating Committee, reported the following nomination of officers for 1950:

Chairman – George R. Harrison
Secretary – Wallace Waterfall

The Chairman asked for other nominations. No other nominations were received and it was moved, seconded, and carried unanimously that the Secretary be instructed to cast a single ballot for the election of these nominees to the offices indicated.

The Secretary reported that the ballot had been so cast.

Upon recommendation of the Chairman, it was moved, seconded, and unanimously carried that the Executive Committee for 1950 be as follows:

George R. Harrison
George B. Pegram
Gaylord P. Harnwell
F. Wheeler Loomis
John C. Steinberg

The Executive Committee was authorized to appoint all other committees as they are needed.

15. Adjournment:

The meeting was adjourned at 3:30 P.M.