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Governing Board of the American Institute of Physics

Minutes of Meeting

March 24, 1956

1. The Governing Board of the American Institute of Physics met at the Institute building, 57 East 55th Street, New York 22, New York.
Present: Frederick Seitz, Chairman; A.V. Astin, R.F. Bacher, W.S. Baird, R.T. Birge, F.D. Dexter, I.C. Gardner, S.A. Goudsmit, Charles Kittel, H.S. Knowles, R.B. Lindsay, W.F. Meggers, H.F. Olson, R.R. Palmer, R.F. Paton, Eric Rodgers, R.A. Sawyer, H.D. Smyth, M.W. Zemansky

Absent: H.A. Bethe

AIP Staff Present: Henry A. Barton, Wallace Waterfall, R.R. Davis, E.H. Kone, Kathryn Setze, Mary Johnson

Chairman Setiz convened the meeting at 10:00 a.m. and welcomed the new members present: W.S. Baird, R.T. Birge, F.D. Dexter, I.C. Gardner, Charles Kittel, R.B. Lindsay, R.R. Palmer.

2. Minutes

On motion, made seconded and carried, the minutes of the meeting of March 12, 1955, were approved as circulated.

3. Report of the Annual Meeting of the Corporation

The Secretary reported on the Annual Meeting of the Corporation held on February 25, 1956. Proxies from all Member Societies were present and voted to elect the following members to the Governing Board:

On nomination of the American Physical Society

R. T. Birge – term to 1959
S.A. Goudsmit – term t0 1959

On nomination of the Optical Society of America

W.S. Baird – term to 1959
I.C. Gardner – term to 1959

On nomination of the Acoustical Society of America

R.B. Lindsay

On nomination of the Society of Rheology

F.D. Dexter – term to 1959

On nomination of the American Association of Physics Teachers

R.R. Palmer – term to 1959

The report of Tellere, presented at the Annual Meeting, indicated that Charles Kittel had been elected a Member-at-Large of the board with term to 1959.

The following was announced as the full membership of the Board until the 1957 Annual meeting of the Corporation:

On nomination of Term to end at the Annual Meeting
American Physical Society  
F.Seitz 1957
H.A. Bethe 1958
H.D. Smyth 1958
R.T. Birge 1959
S.A. Goudsmit 1959
Optical Society of America  
R.A. Sawyer 1957
W.F. Meggers 1958
W.S. Barid 1959
I.C. Gardner 1959
Acoustical Society of America  
H.F. Olson 1957
H.S. Knowles 1958
R.B. Lindsay 1959
Society of Rheology  
F.D. Dexter 1957
American Association of Physics Teachers  
Eric Rodgers 1957
R.F. Paton 1958
M.W. Zemansky 1958
R.R. Palmer 1959
Members-at-Large  
R.F. Bacher 1957
A.V. Astin 1958
Charles Kittel 1959

4. Report of the Director for 1955

The Director said he had already sent copies of a draft of his report to all members of the Board but that some changes had been made since which he would indicate as he proceeded with a discussion for the report. He said it was customary for the Director’s Annual Report to be adopted by the Board as its Report to the Membership of the Institute and he would recommend that after the discussion had been completed. The Director then proceeded with his presentation during which a number of questions were asked and answered and a number of suggestions made. The Director said he would make note of these suggestions and include them in the final draft of his report. (Copy of final report attached.)

In discussing the Institute’s Russian translation activities in 1955, the Director added that the National Science Foundation had recently urged the Institute to expand its assignment to include several other Russian journals. (See Executive Committee minutes of March 23, 1956.) There was some discussion by Board members  of the increased teaching of Russian American colleges and the eventual effect of this on the need for English-translation journals.

After the discussion had been concluded the following motion was made, seconded and carried without dissenting vote:

MOVED that the Report of the Director for 1955 be approved, with modifications to be made as indicated, and that it be adopted as the Report of the Board to the Institute Membership and published in “Physics Today”.

The Director called attention to the report of the Scientific Manpower Commission which was distributed at the meeting and said that SMC occasionally distributed newsletters which might be of interest.  He said he would have the names of interested Board members added to the distribution list.

Copies of the summary of Mr. Hutchisson’s report on the activities of the Committee on the Role of Physics in Engineering Education were also distributed. The Director commented on the excellence of the report and on its potential value.

5. Financial Report for 1955

The Secretary reported that the books of the Institute for 1955 had been audited and that a copy of the official auditor’s report had already been sent to the Secretary for each Member Society, as required by contract. A summary of the financial statement for the year, including the budget for 1955 and the budget for 1956 as adopted by the Executive Committee on by December 10, 1955, were distributed to Board members and briefly explained by the Secretary. (Copy attached.) A detailed discussion of the 1956 budget was included in the minutes of the Executive Committee meeting at which it was approved.

Attention was called to the fact that the 1955 budget, when adopted, anticipated a deficit for the year of $6,100.00. Instead, operations had produced a black figure of nearly $9,000.00 This difference of $15,000 can be largely attributed to the increased revenue from advertising, especially in “Physics Today”.

Attention was also called to the $15,000 item for Information Service which was included in the 1956 budget and which was to be discussed later in the meeting.

6. Review of Executive Committee Activities

The Chairman summarized the activities of the Executive Committee since the last board meeting, giving the names of Committee members and also stating that Dean Pegram had attended most of the meetings.

The Chairman said he was glad to report that the financial situation of the Institute appears to be excellent at the present time. For many years the Executive Committee had been concerned about the finances of “Physics Today” but now feels they are under control. “Physics Today” is now costing on a little over $1.00 per member per year and that should decrease with the help of increasing advertising. The majority of members now feel that this journal is a necessity and should have continued support.

The Institute’s housing problem has received much attention for several years. Many possibilities have been considered and many available buildings have been examined. At the 25th Anniversary Meeting a small group from the Executive Committee met with Mr. Mervin Kelly to solicit his advice. The Executive Committee now believes it has found a solution which will be good for ten years or more, the foreseeable future, and a proposal is to be made later in the meeting.

We have a petition for a new Member Society, the Society of Exploration Geophysicists. This is the first such petition received since the beginning of the Institute in 1931 and is to be discussed later on the agenda.

The Institute’s 25th Anniversary Celebration two months ago, consisting of five days of meetings in New York City, was an enormous success. The Chairman regretted that he had not personally paid tribute during the meeting to Mr. Paul Foote who should be credited with having mad the original suggestion which led to the formation of the Institute.

The Chairman commended the committee, headed by Mr. Knowles, which has been studying Institute programs for the last two years with the result that important new activities have been initiated.

Physics journals presents both major and minor problems at present. “The Journal of Chemical Physics” is regarded as a very successful journal but additional funds are needed to provide the editor with the number of pages he would like to have. There have been difficulties in collecting the publication charge because chemists are not accustomed to such charge. Efforts to sell the idea appear to be meeting with some success.

“The Review of Scientific Instruments” seems to be in excellent shape under its new editor. One of the problems is whether there should be a section on biophysics and what role it should play.

The new editor of the “Journal of Applied Physics” is exploring the situation to determine what fields that journal should cover and in what manner. Some review articles are now being carried although JAP is not primarily a review journal. Editor Sproull has requested and will greatly appreciate suggestions.

The Chairman said that he journal “Acta Metallurgica” has encountered financial difficulties and was not longer being published by the Institute.  The sponsors decided to turn it over to a private publisher and it is hoped that the arrangement will work out well. The Chairman expressed the opinion that the Institute should henceforth confine its publishing activities to its own journals or those of Member Societies.

The Chairman said that Mr. Leonard Schiff had proposed the establishment of a new journal of mathematical physics which would be archival in character and would take some of the articles dealing with the methods of mathematical physics. Such a journal could be sponsored by the American Physical Society, by the Institute, or by a private publisher. This was discussed briefly by the Executive Committee on the preceding day and a committee is to be appointed to review the situation with the hope that some solution will be found in a few months.

7. AIP Housing Problem

The Secretary reviewed the Institute’s present housing problem, reciting facts which have appeared in minutes of recent Executive Committee meetings and reporting in detail on the discussion on the preceding day. (Executive Committee minutes of March 23, 1956.)

After careful examination during the last two years of many proffered buildings, a build had been found on East 45th Street near United Nations Plaza which, with substantial remodeling, should provide the space requirements of the Institute for at least ten years, the foreseeable future. It is a four-story and basement building on a plot 56’ X 100’ and would furnish at least two and one-half times the office space of our present building. The Secretary then described the building on 45th Street in some detail and also the geography of its location, pointing out its proximity to United Nations and to Grand Central Station and the airlines terminal. The new buildings now under construction and those planned for the area were also mentioned. The building will not be available until later this year but property values in the area are already climbing and the purchase should  be made soon or the opportunity may be lost.

The Chairman said that, during the January meeting previously mentioned, Dr. Kelly had recommended that the Institute consider only Manhattan and Washington as possible locations for headquarters. When Dr. Kelly had been told of the available property on 45th Street near United Nations, he was exceedingly enthusiastic about that area both as a location for the Institute and as an investment which promised to increase rapidly in value. One Board member asked whether further consideration had been given to Washington and it was pointed out that Washington appeared to offer no financial advantages and that a move there would result in the loss of almost our entire staff. The Institute has always been located in Manhattan, physicists frequently visit Manhattan and are accustomed to attending meetings here, and there appears to be no compelling reason to locate elsewhere.

It was pointed out that a few years ago it had been suggested that the Institute should move to a location which was less vulnerable as a bomb target. Mr. Astin and Mr. Birge both said that such dispersal of activities of this type was no longer regarded as economically feasible.

The Director said that a bus trip to the proposed site was planned for after luncheon and, at the suggestion of the Chairman, further discussion of the subject was temporarily deferred.

8. Society of Exploration Geophysicists

The Secretary presented the petition for membership in the Institute which had been received from the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) (copy attached) and gave the history behind this petition and the available facts about SEG as presented to the Executive Committee on the previous day. (Executive Committee minutes of March 23, 1956.) Copies of the SEG journal, “Geophysics”, bylaws and a financial statement of SEG, and other publications of SEG were also presented for examination by Board members.

One of the Board members noted that “Geophysics” caries a substantial amount of advertising and asked whether there would be any conflict between this advertising and the advertising carried in AIP journals. The Secretary said there had never been any conflicts among our own journals and he did not anticipate any with “Geophysics”. Several Board members asked what proportion of SEG members are actually physicists. The Secretary answered that information available to date indicates that only about three per cent of SEG members are also members of AIP. Mr. Goudsmit requested that further information about SEG membership be obtained and transmitted to the AIP Member Societies. Messrs. Smyth and Bacher felt that so important a step as the admission of a new Member Society should not be taken precipitately and it was suggested that the matter might be referred back to the Executive Committee for further study and action. The procedure for the admission of a new Member Society was then discussed. It was pointed out that a new Member Society must be nominated by the Governing Board and then acted upon by the governing bodies of the existing Member Societies. Such action may take a considerable period of time which should furnish ample opportunity for full discussion.

In answer to a question about whether it is desirable to have the Institute grow and include new Member Societies, the Chairman pointed out that the Institute was intended to keep physicists together and that it had been formed by a number of societies operating in in different fields of physics who recognized the importance of unity, the Chairman mentioned that there are other existing and potential societies which may petition for membership and should be given consideration. Mr. Meggers commented on the board purposes of the Institute, and pointed out that the Constitution provides for promotion of “unity and effectiveness of effort among all those who are devoting themselves to physics by research, by application of its principles, by teaching or by study; and to foster the relations of the science of physics to other sciences and to the arts and industries” The Chairman said he felt it was the function of the Governing Board to decide whether the admission of SEG as a Member Society was consonant with the Institute’s bylaws and, if so, the Board should then place SEG in nomination and leave it to the governing bodies of Member Societies to decide whether SEG would be a desirable member. Inasmuch as some Board members appeared to desire time to think the matter over, the Chairman suggested and it was agreed that the subject should be held over until after luncheon.

9. Retirement of George B. Pegram as Treasurer of the Institute

The Director called attention to the fact that Mr. Pegram was, at his own request, retiring as Treasurer of the Institute after having served in that capacity since the Institute was formed. The Director presented a resolution regarding the Institute’s indebtedness to Mr. Pegram which had been prepared for presentation to him at luncheon. On motion made, seconded and unanimously carried the resolution was adopted. (Copy attached.)

At 12:15 p.m. the meeting was adjourned for luncheon during which the Chairman presented the resolution to Mr. Pegram and he gave a brief response. After luncheon Board members were taken by bus past the proposed new building on East 45th Street and returned to the Institute. The Chairman reconvened the meeting at 2:25 p.m.

10. Society of Exploration Geophysicists

The Chairman said he had had an opportunity to discuss the petition of SEG with Mr. Pegram during luncheon. Mr. Pegram said he had known of this petition and had given a considerable amount of thought to it. He had pointed out that the Society is older than the Institute, is a stable organization, and he considered admission of SEG into the Institute as most appropriate.

Mr. Knowles asked whether the real issue was not whether the Institute should be exclusive or inclusive. He said he felt it was within the province of each Member Society to be as exclusive as it wished but he felt the charter of the Institute clearly indicated that it was the purpose of AIP to be inclusive and to attract all workers in all fields of physics.

The Chairman said he recognized that some additional information about SEG might be needed by the Member Societies in arriving at a decision as he suggested the following motion which was made and seconded. The Chairman asked each Board member present to vote individually on the motion and all present voted in the affirmative. The Chairman declared the motion passed.

MOVED that the Governing Board nominate the Society of Exploration Geophysicists for consideration by the Member Societies as a new Member Society, with the understanding that the Executive Committee of the Board will prepare the matter for presentation to the Member Societies and provide such additional available information as the Societies may request.

11. AIP Housing Problem

The Chairman asked whether the Board was ready to vote on this subject and, given an affirmative answer, he requested the Secretary to present the resolution which had been considered by the Executive Committee on the previous day and recommended for passage by the Board. The resolution was made and seconded and the Chairman asked each Board member to vote individually on it. All Board members present voted in the affirmative and the Chairman declared the following resolution passed:

WHEREAS the continuing growth of Institute activities has made the Institute property at 57 East 55th Street no longer adequate for the necessary staff, and architectural studies of that property indicate that remodeling for substantially greater floor space is not economically feasible, and

WHEREAS several attractive offers have been received for the Institute property and there are some indications that these offers may be close to the peak value for the current building cycle, and

WHEREAS a property at 335 East 45th Street is available which appears to offer sufficient space for the foreseeable future and which can be purchased and remodeled for what appears to be a reasonable cost;

BE IT RESOLVED, that the Governing Board approve the sale of the Institute property at 57 East 55th Street for a sum of not less than $275,000 and authorize the purchase of the property at 335 East 45th Street for a sum of not more than $295,000.00.

RESOLVED, FURTHERMORE, that the Chairman be authorized to appoint a committee which shall have full power to complete the sale and purchase transactions within the limits specified and to make such contracts as are necessary for remodeling the property at 335 East 45th Street for occupancy by the Institute.

RESOLVED, FURTHERMORE, that the Chairman be authorized to appoint a committee to raise funds to cover the cost of remodeling and furnishing the new property, with a goal of approximately $250,000.00

The Chairman pointed out that the resolution called for the appointment of two committees. As the committee to handle the sale and purchase transactions he appointed the following and he indicated that he fund-raising committee would be appointed at a later date:

M.W. Zemansky
F. Seitz
B.S. McCutheon
H.A. Barton
W. Waterfall

 

It was explained that Mr. McCutcheon is a member of the American Physical Society and of the Institute’s Financial Committee and that he has had considerable experience in real estate and financial matters and the staff believes his services would be of great value on this committee.

12. AIP Office of Information and Public Relations

The Director said that the need for such an activity had been brought to a head by the report of Mr. Knowles’ committee a year ago and that it had been further emphasized at a meeting of the directors of research of a number of corporations. The general consensus has been that physics and physicists need better relations with the public and that it is the responsibility of the Institute to promote better public relations. This was  job which required expert help on the staff. After much searching the Institute has been fortunate in obtaining the services of Mr. Eugene Kone who was formerly with Yale University Press Bureau and, more recently, had a public relations firm of his own in New Haven. Mr. Kone worked with us on a temporary basis during the 25th Anniversary Celebration and joined the staff on March 1. Mr. Kone is now working with the proper officers of the Member Societies in preparing for spring meetings of the Optical and Physical Societies and the Second International Congress on Acoustics to be held in Cambridge, Mass., in June. It is recognized that Mr. Kone’s activities will include much more than the handling of publicity of meetings and these other activities are being planned. The enthusiasm expressed by the press on learning of Mr. Kone’s appointment is very encouraging.

The Director then introduced Mr. Kone who indicated great interest in his new assignment and explained briefly how he is approaching his job. He is making an effort to select papers of general interest before meetings of the Societies and, if possible, obtained from the author his complete manuscript along with a brief abstract in which the author gives in his own words an accurate lay translation of the subject matter covered. This should mean that any version which is finally published in papers will be closer to the truth than if it were interpreted by someone else. Thus far, the attitude of those approached has been sympathetic and their cooperation has been excellent.

13. Teaching of Physics in Secondary Schools

Mr. Zemansky said that physicists had shown much concern about this subject and he had been asked to review for the Board the various activities with which he is familiar. He said that enrollment in high school physics courses had dropped from fifteen percent to four percent and there are many high schools in which physics is not now taught at all and others were it is taught by people who have no training in physics. The situation is beginning to be regarded as a national emergency and, although a number of meetings have been held, most of them have produced only conversation. A few plans and several committee have emerged.

The first step in handling the problem is to improve the existing teaching of physics in the high schools and small colleges . The service courses offered at Case, MIT, and Minnesota, and the summer institutes operated at various educational institutions by the National Science Foundation are steps in the right direction. AIP is represented on a committee which advises NSF in choosing the institutions where summer institutes are to be held. The National Research Council has been trying to interest chambers of commerce, churches and civic organizations in the Washington area in providing scholarships for high school teachers to attend courses in nearby universities.

The AIP may be called upon to help with a plan to have physicists of prominence deliver lectures at smaller institutions to inspire both local instructors and students. High school students and Parent-Teacher Associations should be talked to with the purpose of encouraging more students to study physics.

A way must be found to encourage graduate students to become physics teachers, although it is impossible for the universities to compete with industry. We are all guilty of failing to point out the advantages of academic life. There are two committees working on this subject and maybe something will be accomplished.

After Mr. Zemansky had finished his presentation, Mr. Rodgers commented that only 249 people graduated from US college in 1955 with proper qualifications to teach physics and that only half of these would actually go on to teaching. He said the problem is to get more people taking physics at the undergraduate level in the teachers colleges.

Mr. Birge expressed the opinion that many physics students are interested in teaching in high schools but that they go into college rather than high school teaching because they lack the credentials for the latter. Mr. Zemansky agreed that one of the problems is the insistence of educators that high school teachers have many credits in education courses and show little concern whether teachers have had any training in the subject matter courses they are supposed to teach. He said he had expressed this opinion on several occasions and had been told he was condemning education course without knowing what they are. From what he had seen he is willing to do that. Mr. Lindsay said that the situation is now changing in New England. The authorities are placing less emphasis on education courses and more emphasis on subject matter courses.

It was the consensus of the Board that the Institute should have some positive program to improve the situation and the following motion was made, seconded and carried without dissenting vote:

MOVED that the Governing Board express its concern of the quantity and quality of teaching of physics in highs schools, and requests the Executive Committee to seek effective ways of improving it.

11. AIP Management Survey

The Secretary told about the prosed management survey by A.T. Kearney and Company which had been discussed and authorized by the Executive Committee on the preceding day (Executive Committee minutes of March 23, 1956).

The Institute staff believes that a study of internal operations by  a capable management consultant will be helpful. It is most important that our cost accounting procedures and methods of distributing charges and handling subscriptions to be accurate and efficient. Our procedures are necessarily complicated and we have tried to make them efficient and accurate but we would like to have someone look at them from an outside viewpoint. We believe it is particularly desirable to have the study made at this time so that suggested changes may be taken into consideration in planning office arrangements in the new building. A.T. Kearny and Company will be employed at  cost of approximately $3,600 for this limited survey and, if there report proves beneficial, we may wish to consider authorizing surveys of some of our other activities.

15. Report of Nominating Committee and Election of Officers

Mr. Sawyer reported for the Nominating Committee consisting of Messrs. Sawyer, Smyth and Astin. The Committee nominated Mark Zemansky to succeed Mr. Pegram as Treasurer of the Institute who had tendered his resignation effective this date. The Committee also nominated Mr. Seitz to succeed himself as Chairman and Mr. Waterfall to succeed himself as Secretary. Mr. Seitz asked Mr. Sawyer to assume the chair and proceed with the election. Mr. Sawyer did so and invited other nominations. None were received and a motion was introduced closing nominations and declaring the three nominees elected. The motion was seconded and carried unanimously.

16. Appoint of Executive Committee

Chairman Seitz then took the chair and said that he would like to recommend that the Executive Committee for the coming year be the same as for last year with the exception that Mr. Astin should replace Mr. Judd who had retired from the Board. On motion made, seconded and carried without dissenting vote the following Board members were selected as the Executive Committee for the coming year:

Frederick Seitz
A.V. Astin
S.A. Goudsmit
H.S. Knowles
Eric Rodgers
R.A. Sawyer
M.W. Zemansky

17. Appointment of Other Committees

The Secretary read a list of committees and representatives whose terms expired at the current meeting and the following motion was made, seconded and carried without dissenting voice:

MOVED that the Executive Committee be authorized to appoint such committees and representatives as may be necessary during the coming year.

The Chairman appointed the following committee to review the matter of a journal of mathematical  physics as mentioned in Item 6 of these minutes:

S.A. Goudsmit, Chairman
Charles Kittel
H.A. Bethe
R.F. Bacher
L.I. Schiff

Then followed a short discussion of various journal problems by Board members but no action was taken. The Chairman indicated there were a number of problems of this kind and he hoped some of them would be resolved during the coming year.

18. Dues Percentage to be Paid by Member Societies in 1957

Our contracts with the Member Societies provide that he Governing Board shall establish the percentage of dues to be paid to the Institute for its general activities and that the percentage shall not be greater than fifteen percent. The Secretary said that the Board had set the figure at ten percent for several years and it was planned to use the figure in preparing the budget for 1957. The following motion was made, seconded and passed without dissenting vote:

MOVED  that ten percent (10%) of the dues collected in 1956 be set as the amount to be contributed by each Member Society for the support of the Institute in 1957.

19. Associates

A current list of AIP Associates was distributed to the Board members and their attention was called to the fact that continued success in attracting new Associates was largely due to the help of Board members in suggesting appropriate corporations. Our solicitation is most effective when our letters are addressed to a principal officer of a corporation with whom a Board member is personally acquainted. Board members were invited to send in the names and addresses of prospects along with the full name of the individual to be addressed. The name of the Board member making the recommendation will be used in connection with the solicitation.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 4:05 p.m.