Governing Board of the American Institute of Physics
Minutes of Meeting
August 24, 1971
1. The Governing Board of the American Institute of Physics met in the Windsor Terrace of The Hotel Commodore, New York, N.Y.
Members Present: H. Richard Crane - Chairman, Arnold Arons, Stanley S. Ballard, Bruce H. Billings, Joseph A. Burton, Harold A. Daw, Irving E. Dayton, Michael Ference, Jr., S. A. Goudsmit, W. W. Havens, Jr., Gerald Holton, John C. Johnson, Wilbur V. Johnson, H. William Koch, Robert N. Little, A. I. Mahan, H. Markovitz, Aden B. Meinel, Arthur L. Schawlow, Frederick Seitz, Mary E. Warga, Wallace Waterfall, Peter R. Weiss
Guests: Elmer Hutchisson, Ralph A. Sawyer, H.M. Gurin
Absent: George B. Benedek, Robert T. Beyer, Baily L. Donnarlly, Laurence W. Frederick, G.A. Jeffrey, Martin Schwarzchild, William P. Slichter
AIP Staff Present: William Koch, Director; Wallace Waterfall, Secretary; G.F. Gilbert, Treasurer; Lewis Slack, Associate Director for General Activities; Robert H. Marks, Associate Director for Publishing and Information; Dorothy M. Lasky, Assistant to the Director; Mary M. Johnson, Assistant to the Secretary
Chairman Crane called the meeting to order at 1:35 p.m. and introduced the two new members — John C. Johnson and Michael Ference, Jr.
2. Minutes of Meeting of March 20, 1971
The Secretary reported that Arnold Arons and Gerald Holton had requested changes in the minutes of the March 20 meeting which had been distributed to all members of the Board. The changes suggested had been stated in memoranda of June 17 which had been sent to all Board members and are attached to these minutes as Exhibits A and B. It was then moved, seconded, and carried without dissent that the minutes of the March 20 Governing Board meeting be approved with the two corrections cited.
3. Resolution re: R.B. Lindsay
At its meeting on June 14 the Executive Committee was advised that R.B. Lindsay had resigned from the Governing Board and, in view of his long service to the Institute, the Secretary was instructed to prepare an appropriate resolution of appreciation to be presented to the Governing Board at the current meeting. The Secretary then read the proposed resolution ( Exhibit C) and it was moved, seconded, and carried without dissent that the resolution be approved and that the Secretary be instructed to send a copy of it to R. B. Lindsay.
4. Resolution from University of Maryland
The Chairman said he understood all members of the Governing Board had received copies of a letter dated May 27, 197 1, from the Acting Chairman of the Department of Physics and Astronomy of the University of Maryland to which was attached a resolution passed by the Department urging the Institute to continue its support of the Center for the History and Philosophy of Physics. Copy attached as Exhibit D. The Chairman said he had requested the Secretary to prepare an appropriate answer to the letter for consideration by the Board. The Secretary read the proposed letter. Several suggestions were made and the Secretary was instructed to send the letter, including the suggestions, as the Board's reply to the University of Maryland group. Copy of the letter as sent is attached as Exhibit E.
5. Appointment of Nominating Committee
As a Nominating Committee to report at the spring 1972 meeting of the Governing Board, the Chairman nominated Robert T. Beyer, Frederick Seitz, and Bailey L. Donnally, with Beyer to act as chairman. All members of the committee had agreed to serve and the Board approved the committee.
6. Report of Tate Award Committee
Goudsmit reported that a committee consisting of himself, Luis Alvarez, and Frederick Seitz had been charged with the responsibility of presenting a candidate or candidates for the John T. Tate Award. Goudsmit said that the committee was unanimous in agreeing that the award should be given to Gilbertto Bernardini for his efforts and success in creating the European Physical Society. Crane asked for other nominations and, there being none, he declared nominations closed and the following motion was made, seconded, and carried unanimously:
MOVED that Gilberto Bernardini receive the next John T. Tate Award for his efforts and success in creating the European Physical Society.
7. Recommendations from Assembly
John C. Johnson, Chairman of the Assembly of Society Officers which had met in the morning, reported on the discussions and actions of the Assembly. He said that the agenda of the Assembly had not provided sufficient time for discussion of the most important subject, the proposed increase in member assessment charge to provide additional funds for AIP general activities. A motion had been made in the Assembly to endorse the various programs included in general activities and to recommend to the Governing Board that action be started to amend AIP By-Laws to increase Society dues from $1.00 to $2.00 per member. In support of this motion a document, attached as Exhibit F, had been distributed and was discussed by Slack and Koch. In discussion of the motion by members of the Assembly it became apparent that they wanted to know much more about the present status and past history of the various "Society-member programs" and that they did not feel prep red to vote on the motion. A motion to table the preceding motion was then made, seconded and carried by more than a two-thirds vote of the Society officers present. Accordingly, Johnson said he had no recommendations from the Assembly to report to the Governing Board.
8. Executive Committee Proposal to Amend Constitution to Increase Member Assessment Charge
Chairman Crane said that the Executive Committee, at its meeting on June 14, 1971, had recommended that the Governing Board take action to amend the AIP Constitution to increase Member Society dues from $1.00 to $2.00 per member and he asked the Secretary to read the action taken by the Executive Committee. The Secretary then read the Executive Committee motion which had been passed by a five to two vote and he also explained the procedure for amending the Constitution which requires action first by the Governing Board of AIP and then by the governing bodies of Member Societies.
Much discussion followed which may be summarized briefly as follows.
Seitz said that, in view of the discussion in the morning, he felt it would be impractical to proceed with the proposed By-Law change at the present time.
Koch gave a brief history of the member assessment charge. He said there is always resistance to increasing charges, that he had been talking about the need for increasing the member assessment charge for two years, that the need still exists if the Institute is to be able to do what Member Societies want it to do, and that he proposes to continue to bring the matter up to the Board for consideration.
Mahan said that the Optical Society is having difficulty balancing its budget and he did not believe the Society would look favorably upon an increase at the present time.
John Johnson said the Acoustical Society was in the same position and he would not expect favorable action from the Societies if the proposed By-Law change were put to them at present.
Also speaking for OSA, Billings said his Society had had to cut back on various activities and he would want to know a lot more about the general activities for which AIP wants funds before he could subscribe to an increase in the member assessment charge.
Dayton said that AAPT had increased dues by 50% last year and planned to use the increased income for new activities in the area of education. He said that AAPT expected to have to run a very tight ship for the next few years. Dayton also questioned the assumption that AIP had to have more money for its general activities. He felt that the AIP programs for which funds are being sought should be examined critically.
Seitz said he realized the problems involved in having Society contributions to AIP as a percentage of the dues which Societies collect from their members but he believed that we should probably get back to the percentage-of-dues basis or some other arrangement for gradual escalation of Society payments to AIP, as Societies increase their own dues.
Havens said he supported strongly AIP's need for more funds for general activities and he was in favor of the proposed By-Law change to increase Member Society dues to $2.00 per member. Rather than have Society dues set at some fixed amount per member in the By-Laws, Havens said he would prefer some formula which would permit automatic increases if an equitable formula could be developed.
Schawlow said the AIP is now being called on to perform many more functions of a professional-society nature and should have funds to support them. He suggested it might be best for the Board to recommend the By-Law amendment and let the Societies fight it out in their councils.
Ballard said he personally favored an increase in Member Society dues if that was needed to give AIP more funds for general activities and that he would be willing to contribute his share.
Weiss said he had been a member of the Society-Member Programs Review Committee and he recalled vividly the discussions in the committee. Representatives of the Member Societies had made it clear that their Societies would resist any change in AIP By-Laws to increase Member Society dues at the present time. He said he believed the Governing Board was now in the same position that the committee found itself in and that it would not be wise to propose an increase in Member Society dues at the present time.
During a lull in the discussion the Secretary reminded the Board that there was no motion before it for action and that it would be appropriate either to take action on amendment of the By-Laws as recommended by the Executive Committee or to ask the Executive Committee to reconsider the matter. Accordingly, the following motion was made by Schawlow, seconded by Havens, and passed without dissent:
MOVED that the Executive Committee be instructed to give further study to means of increasing contributions of Member Societies to the Institute, including the possibility of a formula whereby such contributions might be based on some fraction of the annual dues which Society members pay to their Societies.
9. Other Business
Slack explained the plans of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) to celebrate its 50th anniversary by having a large assembly in Washington, D.C., in September of 1972. (See Item 16 of minutes of Executive Committee meeting of September 22, 1971.) He also reported that the Executive Committee had authorized a contribution of $5,000, to be included in the 1972 budget, toward the expenses of the assembly and had proposed that the Executive Committee, the Governing Board, and the Assembly of Society Officers all meet in Washington, the Assembly of Society officers and the Governing Hoard meetings to be on Wednesday, September 20, 1972. By motion made, seconded, and carried without dissent, the proposed meetings in Washington were approved.
Arons recalled that last year he had voiced some criticism of the talks given in the Corporate Associates meeting. He said he had no criticism of the talks in this year's meeting and wished to compliment the organizers. However, Arons said he did question the wisdom and merit of the Science Writing Award that went to Robert March for the textbook "Physics for Poets." Arons pointed out that many similar texts had been published in recent years and had contributed nothing to solving the problem of presenting physics intelligibly to non-physics students because, despite the good will and effort that went into them, they failed to take into account the learning problems and conceptual difficulties encountered by the students being addressed. The result has been a flood of jargon, still incomprehensible to the students and doing nothing to give them a better understanding of the scientific enterprise and the nature of its results. He expressed the opinion that the book to which the writing award had been given suffered from all of these failings and was therefore a bad book. He expressed the hope that, for the sake of physics and the scientific community, future awards will be made with much greater care and consideration and with a much more sophisticated awareness of what constitutes educational quality as well as intelligibility.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 3:06 p.m.