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Governing Board of the American Institute of Physics

Minutes of Meeting

September 20, 1972

1. The Governing Board of the American Institute of Physics met in the Board Room of the National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D. C.

Members: H. Richard Crane – Chairman, Stanley S. Ballard, George B. Benedek, Robert T. Beyer, Joseph A. Burton, Harold A. Daw, Irving E. Dayton, Bailey L. Donnally, F. R. Eirich, Michael Ference, Joseph L. Fowler, S. A. Goudsmit, Gerald Holton, Robert E. Hopkins, G. A. Jeffrey, John C. Johnson, Wilbur V. Johnson, H. William Koch, A. I. Mahan, Aden B. Meinel, Martin Schwarzschild, Frederick Seitz, Mary E. Warga, Wallace Waterfall

Absent: Kenneth W. Ford, Laurence Fredrick, W. W. Havens, Jr., E. Leonard Jossem, W. P. Slichter, Peter R. Weiss

Guests: Elmer Hutchisson – Director Emeritus, Philip Morse

AIP Staff Present: H. William Koch, Director; Wallace Waterfall, Secretary; G. F. Gilbert, Treasurer; Lewis Slack, Assoc. Director for General Activities; Robert H. Harks, Assoc. Dir. for Publishing Information; Dorothy M. Lasky, Assistant to the Director; Mary K. Johnson, Assistant to the Secretary

Chairman Crane called the meeting to order at 1:35 p.m.

2. Minutes

Upon motion made and passed without dissent, the minutes of the Governing Board meeting of March 25, 1972, were approved as distributed.

3. Report of Executive Committee Meeting of September 19, 1972

Chairman Crane gave a brief report on the meeting of the Executive Committee on the preceding day as follows:

  1. The Executive Committee authorized court action to retain the tax-exampt status on our building if such action is recommended by our attorneys. Our tax liability would be approximately $58,000 per year.
  2. The Committee on Fixed Charges for Services to Societies reported that its job had been more complicated than anticipated. The Committee has no recommendation to make at the present time and expects that it may take a year of experimentation and data–gathering to get a plan which will be acceptable to all concerned.
  3. Progress is being made in negotiations with IEE concerning joint action on physics information program. It looks as if an agreement will be signed by the end of this calendar year to be effective at the beginning of 1974.
  4. AIP management reported establishment of a new Section for Promotion and Marketing and a new division to handle production of the new CPI products and related services.
  5. Koch reviewed the status of NSF grants and indicated it appears likely we will continue to receive NSF support through calendar year 1973.
  6. An Administrative Review Committee consisting of Jeffrey, Creutz, and J. C. Johnson was appointed to review the situation and make any recommendations which seem appropriate before the next meeting of the Executive Committee. (Robert E. Hopkins was subsequently appointed to replace Johnson.)

4. Recommendation from Assembly

Morse had been chairman of the Assembly of Society Officers and Governing Board members which had taken place immediately preceding this meeting of the Governing Board and Crane asked him to report on the deliberations and conclusions of the Assembly.

Morse said that most of the Board members had attended the Assembly and, therefore, he would not review the meeting in detail. He said that the Assembly did take one specific action in response to a series of five motions presented by Benedek and discussed in some detail by the Assembly (copy attached as Exhibit A). He said that the wording of the motion had been prepared by himself, Crane, and Waterfall and he asked Waterfall to read it as follows:

MOVED that the Assembly recommend to the Governing Board that the Chairman of the Board, in consultation with Assembly chairman Morse, review the five motions proposed by Benedek and either refer the items to existing AIP committees or appoint new committees with the objective of assuring positive action on the four areas of interest covered in Benedek's motions and, furthermore, assuring that Member Societies are kept advised of all these activities.

After considerable discussion into which extraneous subjects were injected the following motion was made, seconded, and passed without dissent:

MOVED that the Board accept the recommendation of the Assembly and charge the Chairman with the actions indicated in the motion.

Board members then proceeded to discuss the subjects presented by Koch at the Assembly which had been outlined in his letter of September 1 which was attached to Morse's letter of the same date which had been distributed to all members of the Governing Board and to Society Officers (copy attached as Exhibit B). Koch had suggested an increased role for AIP in a program directed toward improvement of the public understanding of physics as recommended by the Bromley committee. He estimated that this would cost at least $500,000 per year and that the program should be started as soon as possible. He said he doubted whether that much money could be obtained from the Member Societies or from individual physicists but he suggested that it might be worthwhile to apply to some Government agency for start-up funds. There would, of course, be an implied commitment that physicists themselves would provide funds to continue the program if it appeared to be effective. After considerable discussion it appeared to be the consensus that Board members felt that they needed much more information on the details of the program before they could pass judgment on it. Furthermore, it was suggested that more consultation with Member Societies was necessary. Finally, a motion was made by Schwarzschild which was modified by comments from others. Following is the Secretary's interpretation of the motion which was made, seconded, and passed without dissent:

MOVED that the AIP staff be requested to formulate and communicate to Member Societies and to Board members more definite plans for an expanded program on the public understanding of physics so that all parties can express their reactions.

On the subject of another meeting with Ed David, the President's Science Advisor, there was also much discussion. It was suggested that the meeting should be held before November 7 but that did not seem possible. There was a consensus that it was urgent to hold the meeting with David as soon as possible, preferably before the end of this calendar year. A motion was made but not carried directing the appropriate officers of AIP in cooperation with the President of APS to ask for an appointment with the President's Science Advisor before Christmas. This same motion suggested that the meeting be attended by three members of APS, one member of each of the other Member Societies, and several AIP officers. The motion was finally withdrawn and, presumably, it was left to Chairman Crane to implement the consensus of the Board in whatever way he felt best.

Morse reported that, as a nominating committee for officers for next year's Assembly, he had appointed John Johnson – chairman, Martin Schwarzschild, and Joseph Fowler.

5. Recommendations from Physics Survey Report

Koch referred to a document which had been distributed to all Board members along with the agenda of the meeting. This document (copy attached as Exhibit C) contains excerpts from the physics survey report entitled "Physics in Perspective, Volume I." He said that the report had been prepared by a survey committee of NAS which spent several years compiling the report. The recommendations contained in the document are directed particularly to the physics community. Koch read from the last page of the document and emphasized that what was recommended would cost a lot of money and require a lot of people. Koch asked who was going to do all these things, AIP or the Societies, and where was the money coming from to pay for them. If AIP is to assume these responsibilities, a way must be found to get the money needed and some help must come from the Societies. AIP has been successful in the past in getting money from outside sources such as the $150,000 we get each year from industry through our Corporate Associates program.

This subject had been discussed in the Assembly which preceded this meeting and also under Item 4 of the agenda of this meeting so there was no further discussion at this time. No action was suggested and none taken.

6. New Approaches to AIP Programs

  1. General – User Orientation, Physicist Involvements, Institutional Members. Cooperation Among Sciences

    Koch referred to the three documents labeled “Agenda Item 6a" which had been distributed to all Board members along with the agenda prior to the meeting. (Copies attached to official minutes only.) Koch said these were examples of short reports on scientific subjects written for and intended to be read by the public. Such items are distributed by AIP and others to news media writers who include them in their publications as is or rewrite them as they wish.

    There were brief comments by Goudsmit, Donnally, Meinel, Hopkins, and Fowler regarding the difficulty physicists have in communicating their material to the public. Some expressed doubts as to whether physicists actually want to reach the public. Perhaps we should concentrate on agencies which generate programs and provide money for programs. Do we really want to popularize physics?

  2. Proposal on "Planning the Role of AIP in Stimulating Institutional Coupling for Innovation"

    Koch called attention to the preliminary draft of a proposal on this which had been distributed to Board members with the agenda (copy of revised draft attached as Exhibit D). Koch said that a draft of this proposal had been shown to NSF and they were delighted with the potential. AIP believes it has a role to play in this area but we don't know just what that role should be and the purpose of our proposal is to finance the necessary study. We are asking for Board approval to submit this proposal to NSF formally.

    A number of questions were asked by members of the Board and Koch's answer to most of them was that the purpose of the proposed study is to answer just such questions. Crane said it was apparent that a number of Board members would like to suggest changes in the proposal and Koch indicated he would welcome all suggestions. The following motion was finally made, seconded, and passed without dissent:

    MOVED that the staff be authorized to submit a proposal to NSF requesting funds to plan the role of AIP in stimulating institutional coupling for innovation.

    It was understood that the proposal will be edited in line with suggestions received from Board members and others. Koch said that, during the discussion of this and other subjects today, he had been impressed with the desirability of conferring more with the Societies in laying out AIP programs and he intended to do so on this particular program.

  3. The New Film "Birth and Death of a Star"

    Slack said he believed it was about a year and a half ago that we were approached by people from NSF about producing some films on science for presentation on public television stations. They suggested one film in the astronomical area and one in the biological area. Our cooperation was asked in obtaining the proper people to serve on advisory committees in connection with the film. The initial grant from NSF was approximately $60,000 and was for writing the scripts of both films and producing the astronomical film. For the astronomical film we went to the Astronomical , Society and they suggested people to serve on the committee. In the case of the other film we went through the APS. The astronomical film "Birth and Death of a Star" is finished except for some final editing and you will have an opportunity to see a preview of it immediately after this meeting. It is scheduled for release late this fall or winter. We have now received a grant for the second film, expected to be produced during the winter and released some time next spring. We expect both films to be shown initially through various television stations and then they will probably be turned over to one of the main film distributors where they can be marketed to schools, etc.

7. Appointment of Nominating Committee for Chairman, Secretary, and Executive Committee for Coming Year and Member–at–Large of the Governing Board

Chairman Crane announced that he had appointed a Nominating Committee consisting of J. A. Burton as chairman with E. Leonard Jossem and Mary E. Warga as the other members. He said that the committee would be expected to report at the spring meeting of the Governing Board.

8. Application of AVS for Full Member Status

Waterfall reported that the American Vacuum Society had been an Affiliated Society of the Institute for nine years and that the Institute has been performing a number of services for them for most of that time. The headquarters office of AVS is located at the Institute. In June 1972 AVS formally applied to become a full Member Society. They now have 2,500 members, approximately 22% of whom are members of other AIP Member Societies. Election to Membership requires Governing Board action but applications are usually first presented to the Executive Committee for any recommendations which that Committee may wish to make. The AVS application was presented to the Executive Committee at its June meeting and that Committee deferred action for further study. At its meeting yesterday the Executive Committee took action recommending that the Board defer action on the AVS application until a later date because both AIP and APS have long–range planning committees now considering qualifications for membership, composition of the Governing Board, and other matters which may influence the future plans of AIP. Board members appeared to agree with this recommendation and the following motion was made, seconded, and passed without dissent:

MOVED that further consideration of the application of AVS for full membership in AIP be deferred, without prejudice, until further information is received from the AIP Long-Range Planning Committee.

9. Other Business

Waterfall recalled that, at its March meeting, the Board had approved the application for full Membership of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine. The Member Societies were notified as required by our By–Laws and we have now received affirmative votes from four of them. Six affirmative replies are necessary for election. The By–Laws state that new Member Societies are to be elected at a meeting of the Corporation to be held not less than six months after all Member Societies have been formally notified. We would like now to have action from the Board authorizing the staff to call a special meeting of the Corporation to act on the AAPM application when we have enough votes. The following motion was made, seconded, and passed without dissent:

MOVED that the Secretary be authorized to call a special meeting of the Corporation at the appropriate time to act on the AAPM application.

10. Status Report from Long–Range Planning Committee

Seitz had been expected to report for his committee but was unable to be present and Koch reported for him. Koch said there had been a meeting of the committee on August 3 and there is to be another meeting on December 12. The subjects which the committee is expected to examine obviously cover a very wide range. The first meeting was mostly exploratory and no resolutions or recommendations came from it. Our AIP committee is working closely with an APS committee having a similar charge under the chairmanship of J. A. Krumhansl.

A number of questions were asked and comments made and it became apparent that practically any activity of AIP may come within the scope of the investigations of the Long-Range Planning Committee. That committee will, of course, make its recommendations to the Governing Board.

Holton said he felt today's meetings indicate that AIP and all physicists are much more "under the gun" than we have been in the past. For this reason we should try to have our Governing Board as representative of all physicists as possible, giving adequate attention to younger physicists and minority groups.

The meeting was adjourned at 4:25 p.m.