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Governing Board of the American Institute of Physics

Minutes of Meeting

March 16, 1957

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; W.S. Baird; J.W. Beams; R.T. Birge; R.H. Bolt; F.D. Dexter; I.C. Gardner; S.A. Goudsmit; Elmer Hutchission; W.E. Kock; W.F. Meggers; W.C. Michels; R.R. Palmer; R.F. Paton; R.A. Sawyer; H.D. Smyth; M.W. Zemansky

Absent: H.A. Bethe; Charles Kittel; H.S. Knowles; R.B. Lindsay

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

Chairman Seitz convened the meeting at 10:00 a.m. and welcomed the new members present: J.W. Beams, R.H. Bolt, Elmer Hutchisson, W.E. Kock and W.C. Michels.

2. Minutes

On motion made, seconded and carried, the minutes of the meeting of March 24, 1956, were approved as circulated with the following change:

Item 13, Page 11, last paragraph, third line should read: “…qualifications to teach high school physics and that…”

3. Revision of Rules

The Secretary explained that, under the present Rules, Board action is required to drop an Associate Member for non-payment of dues. A special committee was set up some time ago to admit Associate Members and it appeared logical that the same committee should be authorized to drop Associate Members when necessary. The Executive Committee had considered the matter and had made the following recommendation at its meeting on October 8, 1954:

MOVED that the Executive Committee recommend that the Governing Board make the following changes in the Rules:

Article IV – Executive Committee
Remove “X” from the last line of this Article so that the Executive Committee will have authority to drop Associate Members.

Article X – Dropping from Membership
Change to read as follows: “The Governing Board or a committee designated for the purpose by the Governing Board may drop from membership any Associate member who it shall find has failed either to act in the best interests of the corporation or to pay his dues.”

After brief discussion the following motion was made, seconded and passed without dissenting vote (as required by the Rules, more than two-thirds of the Board voted in favor of the motion):

MOVED that the above-mentioned revision of the Rules, as recommended by the Executive Committee, be adopted.

4. Report of the Annual meeting and Election of Member-at-Large

The Secretary reported that the Annual Meeting of the Corporation was held on February 26, 1957. 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
J.W. Beams – term to 1960

On nomination of the Optical Society of America
R.A. Sawyer – term to 1960

On nomination of the Acoustical Society of America
R.H. Bolt – term to 1960
W.E. Kock – term to 1960

On nomination of the Society of Rheology
F.D. Dexter – term to 1958

On nomination of the American Association of Physics Teachers
W.C. Michels – term to 1960

The report of Tellers, presented at the Annual Meeting, indicated that Elmer Hutchisson had been elected Member-at-Large of the Board with term to 1960.

The following was announced as the full membership of the Board until the 1958 Annual Meeting of the Corporation:

On nomination of Term to end at the Annual Meeting
American Physical Society  
H.A. Bethe 1958
H.D. Smyth 1958
R.T. Birge 1958
S.A. Goudsmit 1959
J.W. Beams 1960
Optical Society of America  
W.F. Meggers 1958
W.S. Baird 1959
I.C. Gardner 1959
R.A. Sawyer 1960
Acoustical Society of America  
H.S. Knowles 1958
R.B. Lindsay 1959
R.H. Bolt 1960
W.E. Kock 1960
Society of Rheology  
F.D. Dexter 1958
American Association of Physics Teachers  
R.F. Paton 1958
M.W. Zemansky 1958
R.R. Palmer 1959
W.C. Michels 1960
Members-at-Large  
A.V. Astin 1958
Charles Kittel 1959
Elmer Hutchisson 1960

Walker Bleakney, proxy for the American Physical Society, served as Chairman of the Annual Meeting and appointed a committee to examine proxies, approved as circulated. The Director summarized his Report for 1956 and the Treasurer made a report of the financial condition of the Corporation.

5.Report of the Director 1956

The Director called attention to the fact that copies of his Report had already been distributed to Board members. Article X of the Institute’s Constitution requires that the Governing Board shall annually report to the Member Societies and the Members of the Institute and the Director suggested that his report might be adopted by the Board as its report to the membership. The Director then proceeded to review his report and answered various questions which were raised as each item was presented.

In connection with a brief discussion about the possibility admitting new Member Societies to the Institute, Mr. Smyth pointed out that the Institute’s Constitution currently requires the approval of a least four Member Societies but that no limit is fixed on the time. This would apparently mean that an application for membership could be pending indefinitely without either affirmative or negative action by the Institute. The Chairman said he presumed that, at some Annual Meeting of the Corporation, the subject would be brought up for consideration and, if the requisite number of approvals had not been received, the meeting would conclude that the subject was dead.

At the conclusion of the discussion of the Director’s Report, the Director invited Board members to send him any suggestions they may have for changes in it. He said that such changes would be incorporated in the Report and, unless there were objections, the Report would be published in “Physics Today” as the Report of the Board to the Institute membership. There were no objections to their proposal.

6. Financial Report for 1956

The Treasurer pointed out that a financial report, including the budget for 1956, and Income and Expense Statement for 1956, and the budget for 1957, had been distributed to all members prior to the meeting and would be attached to the minutes of the meeting. He then proceeded to comment on various items.

The Treasurer called attention to the fact that something over $63,000 had been added to the Institute’s surplus during 1956, bringing the accumulated surplus to approximately $250,000.00. This was much better than had been anticipated and is particularly fortunate in view of the Institute’s current building program and other needs for funds. He pointed out that many items had contributed to the unexpectedly good performance in 1956, particularly the net income from advertising which had exceeded $100,000.00. He noted that, for the first time in its history, “Physics Today” had actually made money in spite of the fact that more than 18,000 copies had been mailed to Institute members free of charge. The net advertising revenue from PT advertising had exceeded $45,000 whereas the net cost of producing and distributing it had been only a little over $42,000.00. All of the other Institute-owned journals had ended 1956 comfortably in the black without counting advertising revenue.

The Secretary said that the staff was somewhat embarrassed by the fact that the 1956 budget had proved to be so conservative. He said that an effort had been made to make the 1957 budget as realistic as possible but that the uncertainties about operating costs after moving into the new building made the budget very questionable. To date, advertising revenue appears to be nearly twenty percent ahead of the last year and this increased income may help offset some of the unanticipated expenses which we will very probably have.

There was some discussion and a few questions, at the conclusion of which the Treasurer and the staff were complimented on the fiscal performance of the Institute in 1956.

7. Report of the Chairman and Review of Executive Committee Activities

The Chairman reviewed at length the problems with which the Executive Committee had been faced during the past year and the actions which had been taken in meeting them. (Many of the Chairman’s remarks made at this time are reported under following items in these minutes.)

In commenting on the present status of the Development Fund drive, the Chairman said that the failure of members and industry to respond to the drive to the extent anticipated had convinced him that the Institute must provide for its future expansion without resorting to another drive for funds. He said this meant that funds would have to be accumulated by adding such overhead as is necessary to current operating costs. A new accounting procedure will be institute which will involved setting up the new property at some appropriate value in the capital account of the Institute and depreciating it by charges against current operations over a period of years. He also said that the Institute should take a new look at the dues rate for corporate Associates. Indications are that industry would respond favorably to some graded dues structure which would bring regular and greater income to the Institute.

The Chairman said that the Executive Committee had been very conscious of the need for maintaining closer contacts between the Societies and the Institute and had authorized the establishment of a committee to which each of the five Member Societies had been asked to name a representative. The committee has been asked to study the Institute’s organization and methods of operation.

Mr. Smyth had been elected by the committee as its chairman and a report was expected from him later in the meeting. Anticipating one of the suggestions expected from the committee, the Chairman said that the Executive Committee had suggested that there be two meetings of the Governing Board each year, one in March as heretofore and the second in October. It was also planned to hold meetings of the Executive Committee at approximately two-month intervals and Board members who found it convenient to attend would be invited to do so. The Chairman said he did not feel that the Institute could afford to pay all expenses of all Board members to all the meetings of the Executive Committee had fixed the following tentative dates for meetings during the balance of 1957:

Executive Committee
Monday May 6
Saturday or Monday July 6 or 8
Saturday September 14
Sunday afternoon October 20
Saturday December 14
Governing Board
Monday October 21

Board members expressed approval of the Chairman’s recommendation and it was agreed that each Board member should be sent notices of all meetings as the dates are fixed. The Chairman also said that minutes of the Board and Executive Committee meetings would henceforth be given wider distribution which would include all of the officers of Member Societies (Item 6, Executive Committee minutes of March 15, 1957).

8. Appointment of New Director

Mr. Hutchisson retired from the meeting and the Chairman explained the actions he had taken in seeking a new Director for the Institute following Mr. Barton’s request to be replaced. The Chairman said he had found a rather strong feeling that the position of Director should be reserved for a distinguished physicist who had made a reputation in research, administration, and teaching and such a person would probably be within ten or fifteen years of retirement. Such a man would be very actively involved in his career and would be difficult to get. It had been generally agreed that the necessary and appropriate salary for the Director would be $20,000 per year.

The Chairman said that, after considering thirty or thirty-five prospects, a letter ballot had been sent to all members of the Board recommending the choice of Mr. Elmer Hutchisson as the new Director. The Chairman said that favorable responses had been received from all except one Board member who was out of the country. The Chairman then recommended that the mail ballot be ratified and the following motion was made, seconded and passed by a poll of each Board member present. The motion was passed unanimously.

MOVE that Elmer Hutchisson be appointed as Director of the Institute, effective July 1, 1957, at a salary of $20,000 per year, that $500 be contributed toward his moving expenses, and that some mutually satisfactory arrangement be made for continuation of his TIAA retirement plan.

Mr. Hutchisson returned to the meeting amid applause and was advised of the action taken. He expressed his appreciation for the confidence shown in him by the Board and said he recognized the difficulty he would face in following such a successful predecessor. Mr. Hutchisson said he felt it would be improper for him to remain a member of the Board after becoming Director and would therefore submit his resignation effective the end of June. The Board agreed with this action was advised that the Institute’s Constitution provides that: “The Governing Board may fill a directorship vacated for any reason, but no including expiration of term, until the next Annual Meeting of the Corporation.” After some discussion the following motion was made, seconded and passed without dissenting vote:

MOVED that Joseph B. Platt be appointed to replace Mr. Hutchisson as members-at-large on the Governing Board and that it be recommended to the next Annual Meeting of the Corporation that his appointment be continued for the remainder of Mr. Hutchisson’s original term.

At 11:45 a.m. the meeting adjourned for luncheon and reconvened at 1:30 p.m.

9. Progress on New Building

Mr. Zemansky and the Secretary explained progress as on the previous day (Item 11b, minutes of Executive Committee meeting of March 15, 1957).

The Secretary explained that the remodeling was being done as economically as possible but that he was confident it would result in comfortable, efficient working space for the Institute staff with reasonable provisions for expansion. He produced final plans for inspection. In response to a question about the adequacy of money to pay for the remodeling, the Secretary said that the Institute’s cash position is good and that our bank has assured us that we can borrow up to approximately $200,000 on a short-term basis, if necessary.

10. Report of Committee on Publishing Problems in Physics

The Chairman reported that, since its appointment last fall, the committee had several meetings and had been giving its attention to the more pressing publication problems. The Committee consists of:

E.U. Condon, Chairman
F.V. Hunt
K.G. McKay
J.E. Mayer
F.N. Frenkiel

The Chairman reported in some detail on the discussion which had taken place in Committee meetings and on the recommendations which had been made by the Committee. One of these recommendations was that funds should be sought for working off the backlog of “The Journal of Chemical Physics” as quickly as possible and that the subscription price for JCP should henceforth be changed as necessary to provide funds for publishing papers so that no backlog would accumulate. The Chairman said that the Executive had authorized a request for a grant of $35,000 from the National Science Foundation to take care of the present backlog.

The Chairman said that the Committee had also recommended that the Institute establish a new journal, “The Physics of Fluids”, and was considering recommending a second journal concerned with the field of mathematical physics in a broad sense. He pointed out that he cost to the subscribers of Institute-published journals was much less than journals sponsored by commercial publishers and it was therefore in the best interest of physics for the Institute to assume the responsibility for publishing such journals as are considered necessary by physicists for the publication of their research. The Director quoted from some cost studies which indicated that the cost of most Institute journals per thousand words to non-member subscribers was less than a cent whereas commercial publishers both in this country and abroad generally charged from four to eight times as much.

The Chairman reported that the Committee on Publishing Problems had prepared a statement on Institute policy with respect to publications which had been submitted to the Executive Committee for consideration. The Executive Committee had taken action to his proposed policy statement on December 2, 1956, (Item 8, minutes of that date) and on February 3, 1957, (Item 5) and the Secretary was requested to read the actions. During the discussion which followed it was agreed that the policy statement recommended by the Executive Committee should be modified in several minor respects and the finally approved policy statement was embodied in the following motion which was made, seconded and carried without dissenting vote:

MOVED that, in the implementation of the Institute’s purpose of aiding its Member Societies it eh publication of scientific journals, it is its policy whenever it appears desirable for the advancement of physics

  1. To assist Member Societies in the publication of their journals.
  2. To assume responsibility for such physics journals as the Member Societies request the Institute to sponsor.
  3. To initiate new physics journals which the individual Member Societies do not undertake, but only after consultation with appropriate Member Societies.

In discussing the Executive Committee’s recommendation on “The Physics of Fluids”, it was pointed out that he journal had been proposed last year to the Council of the American Physical Society but no action had been taken. Since the Managing Editor of APS had concurred in the Executive committee’s recommendation and representatives of APS on the Board had expressed no disapproval, it appeared that the Board could accept the recommendation of the Committee and be consistent with the preceding policy statement. Accordingly, the following motion was made, seconded and carried without dissenting vote:

MOVED that the recommendation of the Executive Committee that the Institute start the publication of a journal, “The Physics of Fluids”, be accepted, with the understanding that funds are to be obtained from others to defray anticipated deficits of the first few years and that the Executive Committee is empowered to work out details.

11. AIP Development Fund

The Director displayed copies of the brochures which were prepared for soliciting funds from members and industry and he explained how they had been distributed. He told about the articles on Institute activities and plans for the new building which had been published in “Physics Today”. He mentioned and editorial for the April PT and a letter which would be mailed to all Institute members probably in May. He mentioned the work which Dr. Klopsteg and others have been doing in soliciting funds from industry. In spite of all these efforts, the Director said that contributions to the Fund had been disappointingly small. He distributed copies of a report dated March 13 indicating that 1,710 Institute members had contributed a total of $36,878 and that 81 industries or foundations had contributed a total of $126,225.00. These two totals add up to $163,103 which is much less than the $500,000 we are seeking.

The Chairman pointed out that the response from members had been particularly disappointing. He said that in the drive twelve years ago for funds to purchase our present building, approximately one-third of the potential individual contributors sent in contributions which averaged $30.00. In the present drive less than ten percent of the Institute members have given and their contributions averaged about $20.00. The Chairman said that prospects of obtaining funds elsewhere for the non-building projects in our Development Fund drive appear promising but the Institute is particularly in need of funds which are not earmarked and can be used for the remodeling of our new building. In spite of difficulties to date the Chairman expressed confidence that another $100,000 could be obtained from members and industry before the end of the year. He mentioned several large contributions which were still expected from industry and he also said that three of the Member Societies had authorized contributions approximately $6,000 and he hoped for still larger contributions from other Societies.

The Director then told about the brighter side of the picture which included our prospects of obtaining funds from foundations and Government agencies for non-building activities. Since the March 13 report had been prepared, the Fund for the Advancement of Education of the Ford Foundation had pledged $52,750 for two educational projects which were included in the Development Fund. Government agencies have shown an interest in sponsoring “The Physics of Fluids” journal and other projects having to do with publication and there appears to be a possibility of obtaining as much as $200,000 from them. The Director then distribute copies of a “Program for Which Funds are Needed in the Next Three Years” which he said including all the non-building projects contemplated in our Development Fund drive (copy attached). He said that the money pledged by the FAE had been for half of II-1 and all of II-2.

The followed considerable discussion of the various items in this “Package Program” in which questions about the various items were asked and answered. The Director said it was proposed to discuss all of the items with several Government agencies and then present proposals to each covering the items in which they appeared to be more interested. Before soliciting such Government aid he requested broad authorization for the items listed in the Program. A number of comments were made which noted for future guidance of the staff and following motion was made, seconded and carried without dissenting vote:

MOVED that the proposed “Package Program” be approved for presentation to various agencies with the understanding that modifications may be made as necessary in preparing requests for contributions.

12. Percentage of Dues to be paid by Member Societies in 1958

The Secretary explained that our contracts with Member Societies require that they be notified before September 1 of this year what percentage of the dues collected in 1957 should be paid to the Institute in 1958. The contract limits the amount to fifteen percent and it has regularly been set at ten percent during recent years. The Secretary said that the Executive Committee, at its meeting on the previous day, had recommended that the figure be set at ten percent for 1958. The following motion was made, seconded and passed without dissenting vote:

MOVED that ten percent (10%) of the dues collected in 1957 be set as the amount to be contributed by each Member Society for the support of the Institute in 1958.

13. Report of Nominating Committee – Election of Officers and Executive Committee

The Chairman reported that as of the Annual meeting on February 26, 1957, he had ceased to be a representative of one of the Member Societies on the Board. He said that he was willing to continue as Chairman if reelected under the provisions of the recent change in by-laws. He had reported this to the Executive Committee on February 3 and had suggested that a Nominating Committee be appointed which would nominate candidates for the Executive Committee as well as for the various offices. The Executive Committee had agreed and Messrs. Lindsay, Baird and Birge had been appointed as the Nominating Committee. Mr. Seitz said he had advised the Nominating Committee of their appointment, had suggested that the members of last year’s Executive Committee who remain on the Board be appointed to the new Executive Committee, and that the who open positions on the new Executive Committee be filled by Board members representing APS and AAPT. The Chairman then withdrew and asked Mr. Astin to assume the chair until the conclusion of this agenda item.

Mr. Smyth informed the Board that it was at Mr. Seitz’ own request that he was not nominated by APS to succeed himself as a member of the Board. He said he was not opposed to the reelection of Mr. Seitz as Chairman but he questioned the desirability of the recent by-law change which made it possible for a man to be elected as Board Chairman who is not a member of the Board.

In the absence of Mr. Lindsay, Mr. Birge then read the report of the Nominating Committee which recommended that Mr. Seitz be reelected as Chairman, the Executive Committee, with incumbent members remaining, and that the Secretary and Treasurer be continued in their respective offices without reelection. Mr. Birge pointed out that neither of the two new Executive Committee nominees could be considered as freshmen members of the Board because of their previous experience with Institute activities. The following motion as then made, seconded and carried without dissenting vote:

MOVED that Mr. Seitz be continued as Chairman of the Board for another year, and that the following Board members constitute the Executive Committee:

A.V. Astin
J.W. Beams
S.A. Goudsmit
H.S. Knowles
W.C. Michels
R.A. Sawyer
M.W. Zemansky

14. Status of Application of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists

The Secretary reported that, inasmuch as this was an item on the agenda of the Board meeting last year, he wished to record that the status of the SEG membership application was as follows: Three Member Societies have voted to admit SEG to membership in the Institute and the other two have taken no action.

15. Report of Committee to Examine AIP Organization and Policies

Mr. Smyth said that his Committee had met several times and that, at a meeting on the preceding day, the draft of a report had been considered and most points agreed upon but he did now wish to present it as an official report of the Committee until the revised draft had been approved by all Committee members. Mr. Smyth then proceeded to review his Committee’s report, his comments being summarized by the Secretary as follows:

Relations between Member Societies and the Institute vary substantially. In some cases they consist only of publishing and, in others, the Institute performs most of the operational functions for the Society. Liaison is not all it should be but this is probably more the fault of Member Societies in the Institute building might improve liaison. The Acoustical Society reports from experience that this is the case.

The Societies are satisfied with AIP in discharging the obligations delegated to it but there is some confusion as to the proper role of the Institute and disagreements about SEG are due largely to this. Representation of SEG on the Governing Board was not adequately discussed at the time it was recommended for membership. The Institute should be primarily an operating agency for the Member Societies. It is proper for the Societies to delegate their “material” functions to the Institute but they should retain responsibility for their “emotional” functions such as the holding of meetings, etc. Member Societies should take seriously their responsibility for directing, through the Governing Board, the activities of the Institute. Qualifications for membership of a society in the Institute should be studied and carefully defined. There may be a need for  new class of membership somewhere between “Member” and “Affiliate” with provision for some representation on the Board. The class of Institute membership now designated as “Associate Members” is not large but it appears to be an anomaly which should be investigated.

Following Mr. Smyth’s presentation there was considerable discussion of various points but it was the consensus that full consideration should be postponed until the formal report had been submitted and distributed to all Board members. It was agreed that the Executive Committee should analyze the formal report when it is received and make recommendations to the next meeting of the Board.

16. Appointment of Committee for the Coming Year

After brief consideration of the list of committees and their members which had been distributed to Board members prior to the meeting, the following motion was made, seconded and passed without dissenting vote:

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

17. Establishment of Karl Taylor Compton Award

The Chairman said that the Director had suggested that such an award be established for occasional conferment upon some distinguished physicist who has made an outstanding contribution to physics. The award would be given not necessarily for distinguished research but for outstanding statesmanship in science.  The award would not be given at stated intervals but at whatever time and place appeared appropriate. The Chairman said he believed some wealthy friend of Mr. Compton might be persuaded to endow such an award and include in his endowment funds sufficient to furnish the Board room in our new building, which might be named the Karl T. Compton Board Room.

Then followed a brief discussion in which it was suggested that a special committee might be appointed to study the nature of the award and the qualifications for it. The following motion as made, seconded and passed without dissenting vote:

MOVED that the Executive Committee be authorized to proceed with its consideration of a Karl T. Compton Award and to establish such an award if it appears feasible.

There being no further business to be transacted, the meeting was adjourned at approximately 5:00 p.m.