Governing Board of the American Institute of Physics
Minutes of Meeting
October 27, 1958
1. The Governing Board of the American Institute of Physics met at the Institute building, 335 East 45th Street, New York 17, New York.
Present: Frederick Seitz, Chairman; W.S. Baird; J.W. Beams; R.T. Birge; R.H. Bolt; J.H. Dillon; V.E. Eaton; H.A. Erf; S.A. Goudsmit; Charles Kittel; W.E. Kock; R.B. Lindsay; W.C. Michels; G.E. Pake; R.R. Palmer; J.B. Platt; R.A. Sawyer; G.E. Uhlenbeck
Absent: J.W. Buchta; I.C. Gardner; H.D. Smyth; John Strong
AIP Staff Present: Elmer Hutchisson; H.A. Barton; Wallace Waterfall; Mary M. Johnson
Chairman Seitz convened the meeting at 9:10 a.m.
On motion made, seconded and carried, the minutes of the meeting of March 24, 1958, were approved as circulated.
3. Finances and Property
- Brief Review of AIP Financial Position
- AIP Investment Policy
- Ratification of Executive Committee Action on Purchase of Vacant Lot
- Approval of Lease
The Treasurer stated that the Institute's financial situation at the end of the first six months, and projected to the end of the year, was contained in the minutes of the Executive Committee meeting of September 30. At the end of six months we were $6,000 in the black and we projected $9,000 for the year end. Our books for the first nine months have just been closed and, although a full report is not yet ready, we were approximately $12,500 in the black at the end of September. Because of certain expenses which are charged only to the last quarter we cannot expect a corresponding gain in that quarter but feel reasonably sure of a black figure at the end of the year. This is not as good as we originally budgeted for the year but we feel it is reasonably good considering the uncertainties about costs and the general business situation at the time of budgeting.
As can be calculated from our Balance Sheet, the Institute's real net worth consists of our land, building and equipment (free and clear) minus about $30,000 depending on how on looks at some of our special funds. The general philosophy nowadays appears to be that an organization should invest moat of its assets in such a way that they will float on the economy. What better way is there to float on the economy than to have all of our real assets invested in well located New York City real estate?
The Treasurer reported that the Institute if fortunate in always being in a strong cash position. At the end of September we had between $350,000 and $400,000 in temporarily unneeded cash. This varies during the year and we have been putting it in Government bonds, Treasury bills and savings accounts on which we expect to realize between $8,000 and $9,000 at the end of the year. This is not Institute surplus and is really not our money is money we have collected in advance for services and products which we are committed to supply. We are responsible for this money in dollars and, if we invest it, we believe it should be invested very conservatively. From our savings accounts and government paper we will get an average yield between 2 ½ and 3%. We think we can do somewhat better and still be conservative by putting some of these temporarily unneeded funds in industrial bonds and high grade preferred stocks which could give us an average yield of about 4%. Bankers Trust Company has an Investment Advisory Service which we could employ at a fee of $1,000 per year to advise us in investing up to $200,000 in such conservative securities and we believe we could realize a yield of $2,000 more than we are now receiving. This proposition was explained in some detail to the Executive Committee at its meeting yesterday and the Executive Committee authorized the staff to employ Bankers Trust Company Investment Advisory Service and to proceed with the investments as proposed. We can use the same Investment Service to place some of our funds in common stocks and we propose to recommend that to the Executive Committee when our surplus warrants it.
One situation which influences us to be conservative and keep funds readily available is the fact that the mortgage on our building is payable in May 1960. The amount payable at that time will be about $108,000.00. We are now paying 4.6% interest on the mortgage and current indications are that we may have to pay a higher if we wish to renew it. It may be that we can get the highest return on our money at the time of paying off our mortgage.
The Treasurer concluded by saying that the conservative investment policy which he had just described had been approved by the Executive Committee on the preceding day and, unless contrary action were taken by the Board, the staff would proceed to follow it.
The Secretary recalled that, on authorization of the Executive Committee, the vacant lot next door had been purchased by the Institute on July 1, 1958, for $165,000.00. New York State law covering membership corporations requires approval by two-thirds of the whole membership of the Board for purchase or sale of property. The Secretary then read the text of a resolution prepared by the Institute attorneys ratifying the action taken by the Executive Committee in authorizing the purchase of the lot. (Copy attached to official minutes.) It was then moved and seconded that the resolution be adopted. A show of hands was called for, there were seventeen votes for the motion and no votes against it and the chairman declared the resolution adopted by the required number of votes.
The Secretary explained that, at the time the vacant lot was purchased, it was under lease to Marbeck Parking Corporation. The lease expires at the end of this year and Marbeck would like to renew it for a five-year period. The lease will pay the Institute $3,600 per year and taxes on the property are now the tenant is obligated to keep the lot clean and the walks snow-free, as required by the City, and this is worth something to the Institute. The tenant has just spent about $2,000 on the lot for grading, a retaining wall, etc. We propose to give Marbeck a five-year lease with the provision that it can be cancelled on six months’ notice after three years without penalty and on six months’ notice at any time before three years if we pay a prorate share of what the tenant spent for improvements. There is also a provision in the proposed lease that the tenant will pay the difference if taxes should be raised beyond the rental price. Our other alternative would be to request tax exemption on the lot and use it ourselves for parking or other purposes but this would present problems and the staff does not recommend it at this present time.
Following the above explanation, the Secretary reported that the Executive Committee had approved the proposed lease at its meeting on September 30 and had recommended its approval by the Board. The following motion was then made, seconded and passed by seventeen affirmative and no negative votes:
MOVED that the staff be authorized to execute the lease hereinbefore described for rental of the adjacent vacant lot to the Marbeck Parking Corporation, for a period of five years.
- Approval of FIER as an Affiliated Society
- Potential Associate Members
An application for affiliation with the Institute from The Foundation for Instrumentation Education and Research, Inc. , was presented by the Secretary. It is an organization which receives funds from instrument exhibits and uses the money for scholarships and fellowships. Allen Astin, Elmer Hutchisson and Augustus Kinzel are board members, among others. FIER has asked for space in our building for only such time as we do not need it and we have arranged to let them have a room on our fourth floor which their staff of two people will occupy shortly. An appropriate charge will be made. FIER i8 an organization somewhat different from our other Affiliated Societies but its purposes do not disqualify it for affiliation. The Executive Committee at its meeting on September 30 passed a motion recommending that the Governing Board approve the application of FIER. After brief discussion, the following motion was made, seconded and passed without dissenting vote:
MOVED that the Foundation for Instrumentation Education and Research, Inc., be elected an Affiliated Society of the Institute, effective immediately.
Of the potential Associate Member Societies previously discussed, the American Crystallographic Association has just sent up an application for Associate Member Society status. (The Secretary read a telegram to this effect.) Many present are members of ACA and are familiar with the organization. They do not expect us to publish any journals for them although we are now publishing, at their request, a translation of the Russian crystallographic journal with NSF funds. At its meeting yesterday, the Executive Committee passed a motion recommending that the Governing Board nominate ACA for Associate Member Society status and recommend to the Member Societies that ACA be accepted. In order for ACA to become an Associate Member Society, all but one of the Member Societies must approve its application.
Chairman Seitz commented that about 30% of the ACA members (approximately 800) now belong to one or more of our Member Societies. In response to a question, the Secretary said that ACA had not asked the Institute to publish any other journals for them but we would probably wish to do so if requested and if mutually satisfactory terms could be agreed upon. After brief discussion the following motion was then made, seconded and passed without dissenting vote:
MOVED that the American Crystallographic Association be nominated for Associate Member Society status and recommend for acceptance to the Member Societies of the Institute.
The Secretary reviewed the status of conversation and correspondence with other prospective Associate Member Societies. The only one which correspondence is active at the present time is the American at the present time is the American Astronomical Society. Indications are that we may receive an application from that Society of Exploration Geophysicists might again be interested at a later time but not just now.
5. Plans for Corporate Associates Meeting
The Director distributed copies of the agenda for the meeting of Corporate Associates to be held on the following day and described in some detail the plans for that meeting. The meeting had been recommended by an Advisory Committee on Corporate Association of which C. Guy Suits is Chairman and that Committee had assisted in planning the program. A total of approximately
140 people is expected and the meeting and the luncheon which follows are all to be held on the fourth floor of the Institute building.
The Director stated that the admitted objective of the meeting is to get more Corporate Associates and greater net revenue for the Institute. The question of dispensing with complimentary journal subscriptions and also the possibility of increasing dues will be brought up. There was some discussion of both of these subjects by Board members but there was no actions or recommendations.
6. Report of Nominating Committee for Chairman
Mr. Beams said that his Committee (Beams, Lindsay and Michels) had given careful consideration to Chairman Seitz’ request to be relieved of the Chairmanship at the end of his present term. Mr. Beams said that if Mr. Seitz served one more year he would be serving the average time served by his predecessors and the Committee felt that, with a new Director and new Bylaws, it would be highly desirable if Mr. Seitz would serve another year. With this conclusion on the part of the Committee, Mr. Beams had sent out to persuade Mr. Seitz and had finally obtained his reluctant agreement to be a candidate for one more term.
Mr. Seitz acknowledged that he had bowed to the Nominating Committee's pressure and would be a candidate for the Chairmanship at the Board meeting next spring. He pointed out that the expanding activities of the Institute require more and more time on the part of the Chairman and, at the Executive Committee meeting yesterday, be had suggested that a Deputy Chairman also be elected and the Executive Committee bad made a recommendation to that effect. Our Bylaws provide that the Governing Board may establish other offices than those listed and Mr. Seitz said he felt that it would be wise to elect a Deputy Chairman not only next year but possibly in following years. The position could be created on a year-to-year basis as requested by the Chairman or as deemed necessary by the Board. The following motion was then made, seconded and passed without dissenting vote:
MOVED that the Nominating Committee for Chairman be instructed to include in its nominations next spring a candidate for Deputy Chairman.
7. Appointment of Committee to Nominate Executive Committee and Candidates for Director-at-Large
It was pointed out that it was customary to authorize the Chairman to appoint a Nominating Committee and the following motion was made, seconded and passed without dissenting vote:
MOVED that the Chairman be authorized to appoint a Committee to Nominate an Executive Committee and Candidates for Director-at-Large for election at the spring meeting of the Board.
There was some discussion of the number of candidates desired for director-at-large and also of other matters. It was pointed out that one director-at-large is elected for a three-year term at the spring meeting of the Board each year. Under the new Bylaws and the terms of directors-at-large begin and end at the conclusion of the spring meetings of the Board and are therefore somewhat different form the terms of Board members elected by Member Societies. No further action was taken and there appeared to be no consensus on the number of candidates for director-at-large.
- Operating Problems and Trends
- Publication Research
The situation was reviewed briefly by the Secretary. Publishing is still the Institute’s biggest business and about 70% of our present staff of 83 people are concerned wholly with Institute publishing problems. Journals were late and getting later earlier this year but now, with pressure, all journals are substantially on schedule except "The Physical Review. " We are now working with three different printing firms on our English journals and with two others on our Russian translation journals. Composition continues to increase in difficulty and labor rates at printing firms continue to go up. Lancaster Press has advised us that there will be an average increase of 10% in our printing costs beginning in November of this year. The actual figure for each journal will vary from this average depending upon difficulty of compositions size of press run, etc. Other printers have raised their prices also and there is no indication at the present time that we can do better by moving our printing business elsewhere. Facilities capable of handling our complicated composition are still very limited but we have no immediate problem. Many printing firms express interest in our work but either lose interest when they see it or are unable to convince us of their ability to handle it. We are continuing to explore additional facilities both in this country and overseas.
The handling of journal circulation and the bookkeeping involved with it present our major problems. The Institute’s dues and subscription-price structure is admitted by experts to be the most complicated in existence. We have made staff changes and bought some new equipment to speed up and improve the accuracy of these operations. Our auditors, Conroy, Smith & Company, have already spent several months in a study of new system which might be applicable to our work and we will probably be considering some more radical changes involving punch cards at the end of the year. We must consider accuracy, speed, and cost of operation and decide on the proper compromise.
The Director stated that the Executive Committee has spent much time in recent meetings discussing the proper balance of Institute activities. Yesterday the Chairman pointed out that historically and according to the stated purpose in our Constitution, the primary business of the Institute is to publish as effectively and economically as possible. If we are taking care of journals as well as we reasonably can, then other activities are in order. We have experienced great pressure to get into other activities and have entered into a number of them but we feel it is appropriate from time to time to review what we are doing in publishing to make it clear we are not neglecting the journals. The Director then proceeded to review existing projects toward publication.
The Committee to Study Publishing Problems in Physics has now been in operation more than a year under an AEC grant. One result was the new journal, “The Physics of Fluids” which is doing well in its first year and is being underwritten by the Air Force and ONR. The Committee also recommended that we start a journal of mathematical physics and we asked AEC for a subsidy for it. On AEC’s recommendation we approached NSF and we have some indication that the funds will be forthcoming.
A study of the overprint and back number problem is just being concluded under a grant for NSF. The results of this study should enable us to effect economies by fixing print orders for each issue which will provide just enough copies for monthly-changing current needs as well as for archival demand for back numbers.
A new and enlarged Style Manual is being prepared under another NSF grant and will be out shortly.
The Committee to Study Publishing Problems in Physics also recommended that steps be taken to encourage the writing of more review articles for our various journals. A plan was devised to accomplish this and funds have been requested from NSF to carry out the plan.
To provide staff help for the Committee to Study Publishing Problems in Physics and also to permit a broad study of such problems as abstracting and retrieval of information we requested and received from NSP another grant for research on publication. Robert Maizell has just been employed to head this work and will join our staff about November 10 for a two-year period. He comes to us from Olin-Mathieson with an interesting and valuable background in documentation and library work.
One difficulty we have with some of our journals, particularly JCP, is the uneven flow of manuscript from the Editor's office. When a journal varies from 140 pages per issue to 280 pages or more within a single year it produces an almost impossible problem for the printer who must maintain fairly uniform production in order to keep coats in line. The situation is especially bad when the large issues come at the end of the year when the workload is always made heavy by indexes. We recognize the importance of rapid publication in JCP but we also know that the journal must be kept on schedule and therefore may have to hold over some papers intended for the December issue of this year until the January and February issue of next year. This does not mean that we are starting on the accumulation of a big JCP backlog but rather that we are attempting to keep issues relatively uniform in size and on their assigned time schedule.
Following the Director’s presentation of the various items above, there was a brief general discussion but no action was taken.
9. Manpower and Education
- Manpower Activities
- Education Projects
- The Visiting Scientists Program for Colleges which was conducted last year and is being repeated again this year.
- The Visiting Scientists Program from High Schools which is new this year.
- The evaluation of films for the teachings of physics which was the project conducted by Mr. Gale and on which the final report is now being prepared.
- The study of physics building facilities which was initiated by an AAPT committee and will now be carried out by the Education Department with funds provided by the Educational Facilities Laboratories, Inc.
- A project having to do with the teaching of science below the ninth grade for which funds have been requested from the General Electric Company.
- Projects on the improvement of physics instruction apparatus for laboratory and lecture and an experimental program on improving introductory physics courses in colleges. Grants for both of these have been requested but not received.
- The “Educational Newsletter” started by Mr. Kelly which has attracted favorable comment and will be more widely distributed in the future.
Associate Director Barton described the various manpower activities in which the Institute is involved. He first explained how the National Register operates. The Institute has been cooperating in this work for several years under a grant from NSF and our work has been kept up to date and is apparently perfectly satisfactory. The work at the records center at Raleigh has bogged down and is now two years behind in processing the information which has been fed to it from various societies. This means that NSF would not, in the case of any emergency, be able to supply the kind of current information regarding scientists for which the Register was intended. Furthermore, since the feedback of information from the records center to the societies is so slow, the Register is of little value to the societies at present. Because of this general dissatisfaction with the current operation of the Register, NSF has formed an advisory panel consisting of representatives of various societies which is to study the problem and recommend what should be done. It is recognized by NSF and the cooperating societies that the frequent questionnaires necessary to keep Register information up to date as “Date of birth” for which the answer remains unchanged. A simplification of this questionnaire would be great relief to those who are asked to fill it out.
The Scientific Manpower Commission is a completely different type of organization in which the Institute has been involved since the beginning of the Commission. The SMC meets approximately four times a year and works on whatever seems to be important at the moment. It gives much attention to the engineering trainings. In 1959 SSA-48 will expire and, already, the Defense Department has authorized Selective Service to raise the standards for induction which is not good form our point of view. We should recognize that we are in an international contest for superiority and should give this contents the same kind of priority as if we were in a military contest. This may require further subsidization of education. Possibility of the establishment of a Department of Science also enters this picture. The National Academy of Sciences is holding a conference in November to which will be invited representatives from various fields of science. Reports from this conference will go back to the scientific journals will carry articles discussing the position of the scientist on these matters of national policy. The purpose is to crystallize the thinking of scientists so that when they are called upon for testimony by Congress they will have an adequate background and be able to speak for the scientific community.
Following the Associate Director’s presentation on the above subjects, there was a brief discussion on some of the points made. The consensus appeared to be that the Institute must keep in touch with such matters so that physicists can have a voice in the establishment of national policies which affect them.
At the request of the Director, Vernet Eaton outlined the events which had led to the establishment of the Education Department in the Institute and explained the present operation of that Department in the Institute and explained the present operation of that Department and the projects on which it is working. The teaching of physics has been a primary concern of AAPT ever since it was organized. Because of the growing importance of education problems it was recommended several years ago that the President of AAPT should take a leave of absence during his term of office to devote full time to these problems. Since this appeared to be impossible, AAPT next considered employing a staff, to be housed at the Institute or elsewhere, to work on education projects for which funds appeared to be readily available. It was finally concluded that the best arrangement would be AIP to set up an Education Department, establish an Education Advisory Committee which at present consists of the President, the Past President and the President-Elect of AAPT, and AAPT and AIP could apply jointly for funds from NSF or others to finance the special education projects recommended by the Education Advisory Committee. Preceding the establishment of the Education Department, William C. Kelly and Grant O. Gale had joined the AIP staff on a temporary basis to head two projects for which funds had been obtained by AAPT and AIP. Mr. Gale’s project was completed the middle of the year and he returned to teaching. Mr. Kelly is remaining with the Institute as head of the Education Department which was established in the middle of 1958 and it will be his responsibility to direct the various education projects for which funds have been received and also others for which funds are expected.
Mr. Eaton then proceeded to discuss in some detail the projects on which the Education Department has been working and those which are planned for others. Most of the details of these projects have been reported in previous minutes or in other communications and are not being repeated in the minutes of this meeting. The items discussed included the following:
Following Mr. Eaton’s presentation, a number of questions were asked and answered and there was a brief discussion about obtaining finances for education projects.
The meeting adjourned for luncheon at 12:20 p.m. and reconvened at 1:50 p.m.
Following luncheon the Board members continued discussion of education projects. There was some talk about the Encyclopedia Britannica films which had been studied in Mr. Gale’s project and this led to discussion of the current series of NBC television lectures on physics in which Harvey White was engaged. Most board members appeared to feel that this series of programs would be definitely beneficial to physics although as a policy the Institute should not endorse it. At the conclusion of the discussion the following motion was made, seconded and passed without dissenting vote:
MOVED that the Director send a letter to the Fund for Advancement of Education extending to them the compliments of the Governing Board of the Institute on the highly successful NBC program and encouraging them to continue the sponsorship of such worthwhile programs.
10. Public Relations
Mr. Kock reported that a committee consisting of Messrs. Goudsmit, Michels and Kock had been appointed to review a broad program of public relations for the Institute which had been prepared by Burson-Marsteller Associates. The committee had held a meeting with the Institute staff members and Mr. Kock had sent a summary of the committee’s report by telephone which was quote din the Executive Committee minutes of September 30, 1958. He said he wished to correct one erroneous idea which may have been created by that report. More funds from Government and industry are desirable for physics projects but the committee does not believe that lobbying for such funds should be a major activity of physicists or a major part of the public relations program of the Institute. We should not try to gain an advantage for physics over other disciplines. Our aim should be to educate the public on what is physics, how and on what a physicist works, and the pleasure which a physicist has in his work. What the Institute’s Public Relations Department is now doing in publicizing meetings of physicists is in the right direction and an expansion of this activity to provide newspaper reporters with lay versions of articles appearing regularly in physics journals would be helpful.
The Director and others then commented on the remarks made by Mr. Kock and also on various aspects of the Institute’s public relations activates.
11. Program in Perspective
The Director said that all he wished to present on this subject at this meeting were some slides summarizing AIP activates for the last few years and projecting them to 1962. He then showed the slides including some which showed projected receipts and disbursements to 1962. These indicated the need for additional income to take care of the expense involved in the expanding program of the Institute. The Director said he proposed to show some of these slides at the meeting of Corporate Associates on the following day. Several questions were asked and various comments made on the data contained in the slides.
12. Next Meeting
The Chairman announced that the Executive Committee had set Saturday, March 28, 1959, as the date for the next meeting of the Governing Board, to be preceded by a meeting of the Executive Committee on the day before. He said that dates of other Executive Committee meetings through June 1959 had also been set by the Executive Committee on the preceding day and these dates appear in the minutes of that meeting.
13. Other Business
- The Director displayed the Development Fund contributors’ book which had been completed and would be placed in the permanent records of the Institute.
- The Director called attention to approximately 70 pictures of Nobel Prize winners in physics which had been hung in the hall adjacent to the Board room. Most of these pictures had been autographed and were presented to the Institute by Mr. Meggers. The Institute has agreed to endeavor to keep the collection up to date.
- The Secretary announced that, effective January 1, 1959, the handling charge for advertising in Member Society journals will be reduced from 7% to 5%. The contract between the Member Societies and the Institute for advertising provides for a 25% sales commission for the Institute plus this handling charge which is to be fixed by the Institute, not to exceed 10%.
- Mr. Lindsay reported that the Advisory Committee to the National Bureau of Standards, of which he is Chairman, has been reorganized so that it now becomes a committee of the National Research Council. The Institute will soon be asked by NRC to nominate a delegation to represent physics. It appears that the number in this delegation may be increased to 24 which will make it the largest delegation from any scientific society. Mr. Lindsay said that the setup of the committee is somewhat complex and he will be glad to make suggestions about nominations when the Institute receives the request. This suggestion was viewed with favor and the following motion was made, seconded and passed without dissenting vote:
MOVED that the Governing Board authorize the Executive Committee to make such appointments as described above when the request for them is received.
The meeting adjourned at 3:05 p.m.