History Home | Book Catalog | International Catalog of Sources | Visual Archives | Contact Us

Oral History Transcript — Dr. H. William Koch

This transcript may not be quoted, reproduced or redistributed in whole or in part by any means except with the written permission of the American Institute of Physics.

This transcript is based on a tape-recorded interview deposited at the Center for History of Physics of the American Institute of Physics. The AIP's interviews have generally been transcribed from tape, edited by the interviewer for clarity, and then further edited by the interviewee. If this interview is important to you, you should consult earlier versions of the transcript or listen to the original tape. For many interviews, the AIP retains substantial files with further information about the interviewee and the interview itself. Please contact us for information about accessing these materials.

Please bear in mind that: 1) This material is a transcript of the spoken word rather than a literary product; 2) An interview must be read with the awareness that different people's memories about an event will often differ, and that memories can change with time for many reasons including subsequent experiences, interactions with others, and one's feelings about an event. Disclaimer: This transcript was scanned from a typescript, introducing occasional spelling errors. The original typescript is available.

Access form   |   Project support   |   How to cite   |   Print this page


See the catalog record for this interview and search for other interviews in our collection


Interview with Dr. H. William Koch
By Finn Aaserud
In Woodbury, New York
October 11, 1987

open tab View abstract

H. William Koch; October 11, 1987

ABSTRACT: Youth and college education in Queens, New York; graduate studies and research work with Donald Kerst at the University of Illinois, 1941; Pd.D. in nuclear fission, 1944. Contract work during World War II for NDRC, Woolwich Arsenal in England; subcontract work on photo fission threshold for the Manhattan Project (Enrico Fermi); involvement in medical betatron work (Philip Morrison). Postwar transitions at the University of Illinois. Work at National Bureau of Standards as Director for the Betatron Laboratory and, from 1962, as Director of the Radiation Physics Division after Lauriston Taylor’s retirement. Work on radiation processing and food rpeservation. Directorship of Standards; his goal for AIP, its independence. Discussion of the scientific information explosions and the National Science Foundation (NSF) grant (Elmer Hutchisson) Manpower Statistics (the Bromley Report); long-range planning committees (Frederick Seitz); effects of Internal Revenue Service audit; 1977/78; classification of physics documents (Philip Morse, Thomas Lauritsen); information as a saleable commodity (Germany, England); electronic information systems (PINET and PIMAIL); translation of Russian journals. Also, major events in reorganization; move to Woodbury and that facility’s later expansion, computerization of publishing activities, relationship between governing boards and Member Societies. Attracting new societies, AIP’s early (pioneer) ventures: Manpower Statistics, history and education programs, and public relations. Series ends with a brief discussion of the career of Marshak Cleveland: his work in radiation treatment, founding his own company (Radiation Dynamics), and his new venture in Colorado. Also prominently mentioned are: Alan Astin, Edward U. Condon, Michael Danos, Ugo Fano, Evans Hayward, Raymond Hayward, Wheeler Loomis, Harold Wyckoff; and the American Physical Society.

Transcript

Session I | Session II | Session III | Session IV | Session V | Session VI

Aaserud:

We are back in H. William Koch's old office in Woodbury, in order to complete our interview. We've said that before, but it should be true now. We could go on forever; maybe we could continue after some years in Colorado. We want to talk first about the background for some new developments that have arisen or at least become known lately, namely, the planned move to Washington and your involvement and opinion of that: how far back it goes, what the implications are for AIP, whether there will be an "epoch 4" coming out of this — that kind of thing. You have written some notes there, and I have written some questions here. Hopefully they will merge nicely. If we do it chronologically, maybe we should talk a little bit about earlier plans for moves, if there were any similar plans during your earlier tenure, and if not, how long this move has been talked about, just to get a background.

Koch:

Well, you realize that starting in about 1975; we have been talking about moves of various sorts, to various parts of the country.

Aaserud:

"We" being?

Koch:

The AIP and its board. In fact, it goes back to the history of the long range planning effort that Fred Seitz started in 1974, because it was then that we were renting more space outside of our headquarters building that we had in the headquarters building. Rental space is always expensive, and therefore we started to worry about where should we expand into buildings that are owned by AIP?

Aaserud:

So it forced itself by necessity, so to speak.

Koch:

Yes. And so every time you raise this whole question of relocation, you look at all the different options. So really since the mid-seventies we've been talking about it. And when it became more evident that we shouldn't really expand in New York City proper, because of the cost of the real estate and the cost of people, labor force, we then looked down on Long Island, and in fact we looked at Washington.

Aaserud:

That early on?

Koch:

Yes. And we had a one man office in Washington, Dwight Gray, who was the editor of the AIP HANDBOOK. So that gave us a contact in Washington.

Aaserud:

When was that contact established, just to remind ourselves?

Koch:

Well, I would guess that it was certainly all during my early part here, up until maybe the late 1970s, that Dwight Gray was involved. And then he no longer was editor, and then he retired from his second retirement, working with AIP. So at that time, the contacts with the Academy were good, and we valued Dwight Gray's presence in Washington. He had earlier worked at the Library of Congress. He knew the whole Washington scene, and so when physicists wanted a contact, they could contact him. And not too long after that, we put a Washington editor down, for PHYSICS TODAY, and that was our Washington office. But then when we finally decided to locate at Woodbury, we felt comfortable. We didn't want to make any further moves. And we then didn't raise the question of a Washington office to any great extent, until the mid-eighties, 1983 or 1984, when it became more and more apparent to me that we needed to have much more attention to educational programs than we had had in the past. The Physical Society had hired a Robert Park in Washington. We had hired Irwin Goodwin, editor for PHYICS TODAY, as Washington editor. They in fact shared a Washington office with a secretary and an administrative aide to Bob Park. That all worked famously in the mid-eighties, and because of its very success, I personally was convinced that we needed to have a greater presence even than that of AIP, and also the Physical Society. It was that that prompted me and the management of AIP to look for other spaces. When I personally had been successful in inducing the American Geophysical Union to become the tenth member society of the AIP, and since they had a building, I then actively pursued having them make available one or two floors in that building. The original concept was that AIP would rent the space from AGU, and then we would sublet to other societies like the American Astronomical Society. Well, the arrangement for AIP to rent in the AGU building went more slowly than we had expected, and so the astronomers in their Washington office, headed by Peter Boyce, were early pressed to leave their rented quarters in the Optical Society Building. They had to make a move very quickly, so they quickly made a move and moved into part of a floor of the AGU Building. And as it developed, AIP rented the floor below them, the whole floor, and it was more room than we really needed. now, that office has been operational for the last year and a half, and since it started, it's been managed for AIP by William J.I Bill Condell, who used to work for the Office of Naval Research, he headed the physics division in ONR, and had been about to retire, when I made the arrangement with him to head our office. He helped oversee the construction and occupancy and the computerization of the office. Bob Park now shares part of that office, and I think it has worked very well. But that then gave AIP a foothold in Washington, and it was my thought that we would gradually increase the amount of space in Washington.

Aaserud:

Was it the plan or the prospective from the outset that it would be a complete move, or was it expected to be just a branch?

Koch:

Well, as far as I was concerned, I was going to try to slowly evolve into a bigger and bigger operation down there. Personally was convinced that that was the right direction.

Aaserud:

The end point would be that the whole headquarters came to Washington eventually?

Koch:

No, that's a separate issue.

Aaserud:

That's a separate issue.

Koch:

This was the question of the increased involvement of educational programs. I was aiming towards having everybody in the educational programs branch move down to Washington. My thought was to continuously preach that theme, and have it become more and more obvious that it was the right thing to do. And the second stage of that is to then, before you consider moving the headquarters down there, you want to —

Aaserud:

It was not part of the discussion of the move of educational programs.

Koch:

Not as far as I was concerned. I wanted to then aim towards raising the issues with Society officers and their boards, because I think it's critical that you have involvement of certainly the resident societies that are in New York City now, that are closely involved with AIP.

Aaserud:

Yes, most of them, actually.

Koch:

To have them approve, endorse, and participate in a move to Washington, and 1111 give a little bit more systematically a presentation that I plan to write out tomorrow, so that you can see what the logic was. But the intent was to move educational programs and have it be almost an accomplished fact.

Aaserud:

Let me just intervene with a question, in case that's not part of what you’re planning to say. What specifically did you plan to gain, and what specifically did you gain, for education, by the move to Washington?

Koch:

I'll tell you all that systematically. Because any time, you see, you raise issues like this, that have a personal impact on people, their first reaction, particularly if you propose a major move, is that everybody gets resistant to the proposal. They immediately are against it, because inertia is such a wonderful thing. We know that in physics. And so you will then immediately get stronger protests. Well, that in fact is what's happened in the last few months. I was trying to avoid that by having this be an evolutionary process, where you slowly move things, and in fact, it was my thought, to first move there the Society of Physics Students, and then the next logical thing to me was to move the Career and Education Statistics — I don't know what they call it — Employment and Education Statistics Group. And then, having accomplished that, if it all went according to this hidden plan, and then others would really quite naturally fall into place. I would suspect that the history division would be one of the last to go, under this general plan.

Aaserud:

To what extent was that plan hidden? You call it a hidden plan. To what extent was it hidden in the discussions of the governing body?

Koch:

I think I can show you some of this, in the write-up I made of the long range plan. now, for anything like this, you have to have people see what the potential is. They have to have examples. And then they get comfortable with the idea. But if there's an edict that everybody moves, then there's opposition.

Aaserud:

Then you lose people too, more likely, yes.

Koch:

That's right. And I think we could have convinced them -­ and in fact, more importantly, not only convinced the staff, but also the Society officers — that it's the most natural thing that has to happen to AIP. I really am so firmly convinced of that. I want to now go into the logical presentation of why I think so, so let me attack that. I hope that could be done without much interruption, so that I can just make it be a fluid presentation, which I've not written out in any detail. I have some notes, but I do think I can make the presentation, into three parts. I would begin by giving an introduction, and then secondly, I would delineate some factors that are important in consideration of a relocation, and then thirdly, give conclusions based on those factors. So let's do it that way.

Aaserud:

Yes. I may have to turn the tape at some point.

Koch:

That's OK. Let's begin then with the introduction. AIP has operated I think very effectively for 56 years with its headquarters located in New York City. A possible reason for the effectiveness in New York is the emphasis in AIP operations during its early history on publishing and finance, and these operations are being conducted in a city that is the world's center for both publishing and finance; it's a very natural thing, a very healthy environment. AIP was formed in 1931 to consolidate the publishing operations of its founder societies, and manage those operations on behalf of the societies. Management of these operations has become a big business, and has involved substantial monies, so there you see that the publishing, as it gets more and more successful, leads to more and more money, and so you're immediately involved in publishing in a big way, and finance. So New York City has been an ideal location for AIP. That's become self-evident. now, in the future, the ideal location for AIP headquarters and for its operations will depend very much on the nature of the operations that are conducted, not only for its member societies, but also the operations that are conducted for AIP itself, as an organization separate from the societies. now, what I want to do is to try to give you the logic of how the programs in the future are going to be shifting from publishing and finance, and how that's going to influence the appropriate location of the operations as well as the headquarters; these are two separate issues. I've already said, in our previous discussion, that the shifts that I was projecting are the ones that led to the management of AIP renting an oversize office for AIP in the AGU Building in Washington, moving more and more of our educational programs to that office; as we filled it up, we would then proceed to rent more space. And as I just said the first targets for that were the Society of Students and the statistics operations, and we'll be getting into that more. So let's now enumerate some of the factors that are involved in a decision to relocate programs and headquarters. One of the factors, and this may surprise you, is that I think in the future there's going to be a decreasing emphasis on publishing. So let me explain that, and then we'll get into the next factor, and so on. now, why is it going to be a decreasing emphasis on publishing? Well, there are several reasons. One is that the new technology is having a profound effect on both the member societies and on AIP. Let's take the member societies first, and we're talking now only about publishing for the moment, and the impact of the new technology on societies. You may have followed ­- I'm sure you have — the way desk top publishing has been promoted with personal computers. In fact, I just visited my son, who teaches computer science in Pennsylvania, and he was showing me some superb composed material, built-up equations and so on. He showed me a scanner that scans text like our Kurtzweil downstairs, but this is connected with a Macintosh computer, a scanner that has 600 lines per inch resolution, super resolution, and you can convert the scanned text into AIPhanumeric representation, and you then can search on the words. now, that's the kind of thing the professionals here at AIP have been doing with the Kurtzweil; here now, with equipment that the public is going to have, you can do it. And I've further seen some superior scanned material on Atari computers, with high resolution, and the color graphics are superb. So the result of this new technology on member societies is that AIP no longer is unique as a publisher. Every society can be unique. You know, every society can do its own thing. And you see that trend. For example, the AAPT are doing their own thing; this works when there are only one or two journals involved. The AAPT has two principal journals, and I'm convinced that it won't be long before they will do their own AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICS, which is still being done here. But they do their own THE PHYSICS TEACHER.

Aaserud:

So what you're saying is that there's less need for AIP as a central coordinator.

Koch:

Yes, that's one reason. But that's not the only reason. Before we leave the impact of the new technology on member societies, we should immediately comment that when you go beyond one or two journals, like an American Physical Society operation, then it becomes a major management problem — management of people and equipment. And it isn't as simple as I described, that the new technology allows a society to do its own thing. But when you get into large groups of people, like 60, 80, 100 people, like we AIP managers for APS out here at Woodbury, then it's no longer as simple. And indeed, I will be arguing in a little while that I see each of the societies in the publishing area doing their own thing when it's-a-small operation, but hopefully when it's a big operation, we can still keep the thing together and have one set of high paid managers, professional managers, and not two sets of highly paid managers.

Aaserud:

So the function will still be there.

Koch:

For big operations. For small operations, no. now, that's one of the impacts of the new technology. Another impact of the new technology is that it's changing the whole publishing business from print media to electronic media. And that in itself will have a big impact on AIP. Let me explain some of the impacts. In the history of print technology, the commercial publishers are almost ruining or maybe forcing an early exit of the print media because they've priced journals and books so high — Gordoner Breach (?) now is 60 times the price per character that AIP journals are ­- six zero. So libraries can't afford any longer that kind of stuff, and so they will increasingly be pressuring to have something less expensive. In fact, a not-for-profit society like AIP and its member societies, and the Chemical Abstract Service and so on — the Chemical Society — will be forced by their memberships to look for other ways of producing the research articles and the education articles, and to help the libraries out somehow. So you can then envision, as you go more and more into electronic publishing, what will happen to an AIP operation. Well, I'm convinced that within ten years, maybe even sooner than that, you're going to have more and more the output of a superior composing machine like a Macintosh computer being submitted directly to AIP; — and you see — the IBM Company being forced by Macintosh and Apple Computer Company to produce windows and to announce two years from now that they will have windows software that will allow them to do what Macintosh does today. So the competition really is forcing IBM in that same direction, and it's so easy with a Macintosh to use them and to produce this superior stuff. So I'm saying that the Macintosh and their next generations of Macintoshes will provide the de facto standard that IBM PCs have created in the last ten years, you see, for hardware. The software that Macintosh has will force this. So you're going to have stuff coming in that won't be re-keyboarded at AIP. It will be corrected and edited by the AIP, and scientifically edited by the scientific editors, but the stuff coming in will require much less staff. The stuff going out will just be disseminated more and more by electronic means, by a Pi-Net and its new editions.

Aaserud:

Yes, we've already started.

Koch:

Yes. And for example, Pi-Net is the electronic magazine, an electronic PHYSICS TODAY, with job openings, meeting schedules, physics news in 1986 — all on Pi-Net, all down-loadable, searchable. That's the way you're going to have stuff being disseminated more and more, and again, requiring less and less work from AIP. In two months, the AIP is going to be moving into additional quarters out here on Long Island, a mile or so away from this site at Woodbury. And so we're expanding beyond what we've got, and so the question is, if you project the expansion that we've had in the years past, you say, "Gee, we need to double the site." Well I don't believe that. I think with the smaller societies doing their own thing, with this change to electronic publishing more and more, that Woodbury — or the size of Woodbury or a little bit larger — cou1d perhaps handle the production operations that in the future we will require. So that's the story on decreasing emphasis on publishing.

Aaserud:

It seems to me that this will have profound implications for how physicists and others disseminate information among themselves. That's a whole other topic, but it's very fascinating. We needn't go into that now, of course. If we have time, we can talk a little bit more about it.

Koch:

That's right.

Aaserud:

These developments can have, probably will have, profound implications for how information is disseminated, not only among physicists but among scientists generally. There may be specific examples of what will happen to the question of priorities, the question of peer review.

Koch:

Let me pick that up, in order to elaborate a little bit more on the decreasing emphasis on publishing at AIP. Because of desk top publishing and the ability in a small office to do management of files, I could Imagine that the scientific editors all over the country would more and more set up their own little offices, and do the copy editing that AIP presently does here, and so again reducing the requirements on AIP.

Aaserud:

Decentralization basically.

Koch:

That's right. So let's then go to the next factor influencing the decision to relocate, and that's the decreasing emphasis at AIP on finance and building facilities, and computer facilities. now, again let's do it the way we did with the publishing. Let's ask the question, what's the effect of new technology on the member societies and on AIP? Well, the desk top publishing analogue to finance is being able to use spread sheets and to keep your own records, and to in fact do your own billing of your own members, and keep your own membership lists, which AIP now does for everybody but AGU and AAPT. now, that trend of AAPT separating is going to increase, and we will have more and more of the societies, and the finance and the building facilities area and the computing facilities area, and administration and management. They will, if they can, because of their own self­interest, build up their own little operations. They've got the capability now with the computers, and they can now separate.

Aaserud:

And they wanted to all the time.

Koch:

Oh, look at the examples that we've had of societies no longer wanting to have a common dues bill, with an American Institute of Physics heading on that bill. We now produce eight different bills — AAPT is not on it and AGU is not on it. So we have eight different bills for the eight remaining societies, and an AIP bill, whereas before we only had one AIP bill. So in the finance and subscription handling, etc. — that general area, administration and finance services — there'll be a decreased need for AIP activities. So maybe that's enough by way of illustration of why there's going to be a decreasing emphasis in this area at AIP.

Aaserud:

Which is also technologically guided.

Koch:

That's right. Let's next talk about increasing emphasis on educational programs. now, the pressure for this comes very naturally from the fact that math and science education has been so disastrously handled in the United States; there've been so many national reports and committees on this subject, and it's at all levels in our educational system. All levels need of, for example, how physics textbooks are used presently for college courses, like Halliday and Resnick, the prime example which has gotten so big because everything has been squeezed into that one textbook. So you're going to have, in all areas of physics, a re-think, a complete look, not just at graduate school, not just at college, but also in high school and undergraduate. And a mini-illustration of this is the discussion that in fact we started, when I was still here, about expanding the Society of Physics Students from not only college, graduate and undergraduate school, but into high school, and have Society of Physics Students chapters at the high school level that will assist them from a national level, and to have improved programs for physics clubs in high schools — and many high schools have such. And if they can get assistance, if they can get material that makes physics much more attractive in terms of videodisks and videotapes and audio cassettes, then the high school teachers will be assisted in doing their job of attracting students into physics. We need to not only attract them, but we also have to provide better quality education, motivate the students more. Well, all that's going to require a bigger and bigger effort on the part of AIP and its societies. now, the societies are not going to do it, and the reason is that it doesn't make money. The societies want to focus on the subject matter of their science, just like the Physical Society wants to focus on the subject matter of research that physicists do, and they do not want to be burdened—they've always said this — by managing a business. They leave that to the AIP. And in fact, it makes a lot of sense to leave it to AIP, when the operations get to be large like the leave it to AIP, when the operations get to be large like the Physical society operations and AIP's operation, so you don't have two organizations that have a high level management.

Aaserud:

It's much more than managing. It seems to me it has to do with the content. You have a lot of idealism behind this too. It's not just management of something that's already there. You're actively going in a new direction.

Koch:

That's right. And it's going to take money. And in fact, as we see a decreased emphasis on publishing and a decreased emphasis on finance, the net incomes that we have enjoyed from publishing and finance — which have been poured by AIP into educational programs — will be less and less available. We're going to have hard times coming up in the publishing area. I really am convinced of that, particularity as we have to make more and more investments in going into the new technologies. So there are tough times ahead, and those times are going to call for more and more educational programs. I'm convinced that the monies to do that are going to come from the federal government. And therefore, the educational programs and the showcase of what AIP has to offer will have to be easily accessible to the federal agencies, and in fact easily accessible to physicists that will be traveling to Washington, not only to get their research money, but that will also want to access the tools that AIP has. We will have to have permanent exhibits of what physics has meant to industry, in a little museum in a new building in Washington. now, I therefore have asked myself, as I've talked about members of societies go from their home institutions?" They don't go to New York. They go to Washington to get the funding that they need for their research. They do down to see the program officers and so on — the leaders of physics. They go to testify before Congress. They don't come to New York to testify. So there's a whole shift away from publishing and finance, which justified the involvement in the world center of publishing and finance. We now are going to hopefully go to the world center of education, that's in Washington. It's not in New York. So because of the need for being where the individual society members are going to be visiting, because we need easy access to the federal agencies and to Congress, I was really quite early convinced that educational programs particularly had to be in Washington. So that then concludes the comment about the increasing emphasis on educational programs. Let's now talk about what all of this means about relations with member societies, as the final factor. now, let me remind you who the organizations are that are presently in Washington, and who the organizations are that are presently in Washington, and who the organizations are that are in New York—the resident societies—and what we have to be concerned about in our relations with our member societies. The organizations that are in Washington are the AAPT, the American Geophysical Union, the American Astronomical Society, and the Optical Society — those four. The remaining six are in New York, in various forms. So let's just enumerate them: the American Physical Society, the American Association of Physicists in Medicine, the American Vacuum Society, the American Crystallographic Association, the … Society of Rheology, and the Acoustical Society. Now, the societies that are in Washington now are the ones that deliberately wanted to have a separate identity from AIP, and they made that move. They said to themselves, they wanted to be close to the federal agencies, and to where their members go. Those societies are not easily going to be attracted back to AIP, even if AIP has a building down there and has its headquarters down there. They've demonstrated it. In fact, the AAPT is a classic example. Years ago they had an office in Washington. Think in 1968 or so, right after I came here, the head of that office, whose name I don't remember — it was a one person office -­ died. Wallace Waterfall took a station wagon, went down to Washington, picked up everything that he could in that office, brought it back to New York and set up an office —with the AAPT board's encouragement, of course — in our headquarters building. Mark Zemansky — very famous physicist who made lots of money writing physics textbooks was the secretary of the AAPT, in a temporary way. And then, if I remember correctly, Arnie Strassenberg was the head of AIP's education and manpower division, as it was called then, working essentially in the same office, on the same floor, as Mark Zemansky. Then the next thing you knew, Arnie Strassenberg was setting up an AAPT office, replacing Mark Zemansky, out at Stonybrook. So that was the direction things went. But the point I want to make is that they started separate, many years ago, down in Washington. Because of happenstance they were brought back in, but it was really not their desire to be close to AIP. They separated then, and then further separated by going down to Washington. And they will not easily be brought back in. Same way the Optical Society, some of the astronomers, etc.

Aaserud:

Are you implying then that even though there's a majority of the societies here in New York City, which is mainly because the AIP is still in New York City?

Koch:

Yes.

Aaserud:

They would be willing to come with AIP.

Koch:

They may or may not, and in fact, it would be a tragedy if AIP would say, "Look, we're going to set up a headquarters in Washington. Let's do that quickly. Don't consult with the societies." And then have the resident societies that are really close to AIP — they give us substantial business — be offended by that, and they then separate from AIP, like the ones in Washington have already separated. We can't afford to lose the ones that are in New York.

Aaserud:

Of which the APS is the largest.

Koch:

Oh, we must allow the APS an opportunity to decide where their best interests lie. I think they will get convinced, after they've thought through the things that are coming up, and after they have thought through the plan of what to do, when their present officers — like Bill Havens, who is obviously not going to relocate to Washington, and Harry Lustig and Marion Foreman -­ retire. What will those key officers in APS do in the next generation? I would hope that they would be interested and willing to move down to Washington. Then I think it would be appropriate for AIP to decide that its headquarters is going to be down there. But not the reverse.

Aaserud:

Another reason for acting slowly.

Koch:

In an evolutionary way, positively. So that's why I also wanted to separate the educational programs, that to me are so logically located in close proximity to the National Science Teachers Association, to the AAPT, to the Department of Education, to the NSF and so on — all down in Washington; that's where they deserve to go. But then, before worrying about where the headquarters is going to go, worry about the member societies. Then we can point to the educational programs, and see that they're doing very well down in Washington; why don't we now develop a place to all move down to Washington and continue the kind of services we've been supplying? So we therefore have essentially come to the conclusion of the whole issue of relocation of the AIP headquarters and its programs. I do think that it's a desirable move; it's almost an inevitable move, from my viewpoint. But it has to be done in the right way, in the right stages. It cannot be done precipitously, particularly by AIP. It would be not unreasonable to have APS precipitously make a decision like that, but the AIP can't do that without real consultation with its member societies.

Aaserud:

But it seems to me, though, even so, that it's inherent in the change of purpose that the relationship with the societies will change, wherever they are. I mean, it seems that AIP, by going towards education, will renounce or at least lose some of its purpose as a service organization for the societies, and therefore is going its own way in relation to the societies, just by virtue of turning more towards education.

Koch:

Well, just a moment. It depends upon your definition of service. Let's take the history program that you're more familiar with, I regard that as a service organization, you see.

Aaserud:

OK, yes, but not a money-making service organization.

Koch:

Oh no.

Aaserud:

OK. We have to separate those also. Fine.

Koch:

You see, the example of the AGU justifying it’s becoming a member society, in order that the physics history program covers the history of geophysics. But they don't come in with money. That's just an additional burden on AIP. But it also demonstrates that you're not going to have ten different history operations in the ten different societies. You're going to have one central operation. Similarly, placement services. Similarly the statistics operations. It doesn't make sense to have ten of those. So I see a very real opportunity in the emphasis and attention to educational programs for AIP's future. But it means a different way of operation.

Aaserud:

But it seems to me that this must imply some redefinition of the interests of the societies as well.

Koch:

Yes.

Aaserud:

I mean, publication is obviously the role of a society, for example the Physics Society, but education certainly on the high school or even the lower level isn't. Doesn't this mean that you are driving the societies, or the societies are driving themselves, towards expanding their interests in physics down the educational ladder, so to speak?

Koch:

Yes, I think it's the public and the Congress that will be forcing, providing the pressure, to go down to the lower and lower levels. And in fact, it's just like local industry, which has always supported local educational systems, like high school efforts, by making contributions, by providing their staff and so on. Industry therefore sees that it's in their best interests to make these things healthy. In the same way, the societies, with time, will more and more see that it's in the best interests of their memberships. For example the best interest for college teachers is to make sure that there are students corning up the pipeline; that will then create jobs for them to teach in college. So they will have to then give some attention to high school and elementary school.

Aaserud:

AAPT of course is untypical of the societies that are members.

Koch:

Yes.

Aaserud:

And it seems as though it's more their interest that you're turning to, in a way. Is that correct?

Koch:

In a sense, yes, but you have to recognize that one of the criticisms that's made of educators now is that they worry too much about the techniques of education, and not enough about the subject matter.

Aaserud:

Yes, that's just a decision in New York now that's trying to take care of that.

Koch:

Yes.

Aaserud:

Less education courses, and more attention to substance in teachers' training.

Koch:

Right. Well, you see that everywhere. And so what I'm saying is that the opticists in the optical Society will say, "Look, we want teachers that give attention to optics, and know optics, and not are just plain educators that know the tools for teaching." So each of the societies, even though they've never been comfortable with that, will give more and more attention to educational matters, but at a different level.

Aaserud:

You must be up against entirely different institutions than you've been before. I mean, the whole setting in Washington must be so different, so it must be a very very strong change.

Koch:

That's right.

Aaserud:

I mean the Department of Education or other educational organizations, you'll be up against them, and you haven't been that before. So it seems to me to be a very very strong change there.

Koch:

Oh, it's going to be a major change for the AIP. And in fact, let me say, Finn, that for me personally, since I've worried about this so much, and I got convinced of all these trends, thought it would be wise for me to disappear, so that as early as possible a new management could come in to AIP and be faced with these problems, but then grow up with them. So I was pleased at the opportunity, that for me was right, to leave AIP, so that new people could take on this job.

Aaserud:

But you don't see this in any way as a break with your vision of AIP's "epoch 3."

Koch:

I don't think so. No, I don't think so. I think we've just laid the groundwork for it. [Interruption]

Aaserud:

OK, we're back again after a brief intermission.

Koch:

Well, you were asking about a decision, where a large number of members of the executive committee decide on a given course of action, which in retrospect seems a little strange. I want to just comment on the general phenomenon of decisions that I've observed over the years, at AIP. The phenomenon is related to the fact that you're dealing with physicists, very bright people, who many times really know their science and the research they're doing extremely well. They are very qualified, but they know very little about management and they know very little about dealing with the real world of getting things done in a business. And the thing I've observed therefore is that you often will have one member of a seven or eight person executive committee do their homework, and get convinced of the appropriateness of a given course of action. The others that are peers with that individual who's done his homework have great respect for the individual who's done his homework scientifically, and they say, "Gee, that individual is so highly well-known and respected that if he or she has really convinced himself, I haven't done my homework and I don't want to argue with that individual, because they've done their homework, and it must be right. Therefore I will support the proposal that's been made." I've seen that over and over again. And that, in fact, is the one problem that AIP management has, to cope with that phenomenon of dealing with professional physicists. The way we tried to cope with that — I tried to cope with it -­ was to use all the vehicles available, to over and over again announce what the proposals were, so that everybody would really feel as well informed as possible. That was the reason for having a monthly letter that I wrote, and from 1975 on, I have every monthly letter that I have written, bound in a little book that Cecelia gave me. And it's really quite interesting to look back at those. And people read those, because they were so short. They were just a single sheet of paper, which we sent systematically every month, and they got used to that. Then the question of monthly staff meetings with the staff is the same issue of trying to make sure that everybody is informed, because if you don't inform them, then in this phenomenon of an executive committee and one person doing his homework, that one person can be so off base, and if people are not informed they will get that off base position supported. But if others are informed, by whatever mechanism, they could say, “No, you're wrong," and they then may not support that off base position. See?

Aaserud:

Yes. It puts pressure on people to do their homework.

Koch:

Oh yes. And so I'm saying, in connection with the recommendation of the executive committee, I don't think that there was enough discussion of that, and enough informed discussion of it. It was just the wrong decision, and I would suspect it's just because of new people coming on the scene and not having realized what the back history way.

Aaserud:

There were not letters about that beforehand, either.

Koch:

No. I'm pleased that, in fact, the decision was deferred, because I think it still can be put on the right track.

Aaserud:

You think so?

Koch:

Well, I hope so. I was a little bit bothered by the argument that all the members of the board had heard the discussion, had all the facts, on the basis of which they could make a decision, and so why not make a decision without consulting each of the society councils? That was just a grave tactical error. And I hope it can be put to rights.

Aaserud:

What happened at that governing board meeting that turned it around?

Koch:

Well, some of the societies, like the Vacuum Society, who had expressed their opinions in writing, felt that there just hadn't been enough discussion, and that each of the societies should have their own individual consultations, and in fact opportunities to talk with Ken Ford about what the pros and cons were. May I now add some comments about the experiences of another organization that has moved to Washington from New York City, and their experiences in that move? The organization in question is the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Aaserud:

They moved from New York?

Koch:

New York City, yes. They moved their headquarters operation from New York City, but they're a single organization. They're not a membership corporation of societies like we are. So their move was a much simpler one, in terms of a single organization deciding that they're going to abruptly move their headquarters. They had that option of abruptness or handling it as an evolutionary process, and they decided to do it abruptly, but they could do it. I have argued that the AIP can't really do it abruptly. It must do it with active consultation with its societies and approval. So they made the decision, and they made an arrangement with a Washington building developer to set up a limited partnership with — that developer, and the developer then built a building that has ten floors in it, in L'Enfant Plaza in Washington. The building is built on a plot of land 1.66 acres, and it has 368,000 square feet in it, so it's quite a substantial building. The AIAA agreed to move 99 people down into that building from New York, and to occupy initially the top four floors in the building.

Aaserud:

Is that the total staff?

Koch:

The total staff that was to be moved. They have another group that's funded by NASA that they're going to leave in New York, for operations. But the headquarters operation was to move. The top floor of the building is 37,000 square feet, I believe -­ yes, that makes sense — and then the next three floors are each 54,000 square feet, so it's 150,000 to 200,000 square feet. No, that doesn't seem quite right. Anyway, I'll have to check on those numbers. But their part of the deal was that they would receive 13.3 percent of the equity in the building, and they get 13.3 percent of the net rent that they charge to other occupants of the rest of the building, in return for their promise to move into the building. And they have a 25 year lease, in which they get a rent for their top four floors that is $6 less than the market value. So the rest of the building will be charged the going rent. Their rent is $6 less per square foot per year. You see? And for example, the rest of the building is being charged $32 a square foot now, and so AIAA rent is $26 a square foot. The developer bought the land, but it required the AIAA approval for the purchase, and in fact the developer wanted to squeeze the AIAA out, once all the commitments were made. But the Washington District would not permit them to be squeezed out, because it was only their occupancy of the building that justified the construction of the building. See? But the land was purchased for 10 to 13 million dollars, and it was purchased by the city, the District, and the AIAA is leasing the land. They haven't bought it, but they own 13.3 percent of the building. The insurance company, Mutual of New York, has put up the money to build the building. So there are three parties involved, Mutual of New York, the developer, and AIAA. And if the developer wants to sell, the first option for purchase has to go to AIAA. If the developer doesn't want to sell during the 25 year lease, they can have another lease, for another five years, and a third lease for another five years, and at the end of the first 25 year period, the AIAA will be given an option to buy the building. If they don't want to buy it, then they can have another lease. But getting back to the 99 people that were to move. The AIAA was only able to induce 29 of the 99 people to move, but Jim Hoffard, whom I've known for a long time personally, felt that the 29 that did move were the top managers in the AIAA. They lost the lower level people, the secretaries and mail room clerks and so on. So they didn't feel that they lost the valuable people. The valuable people did move. And they apparently invested in severance pay and assistance with sale of homes and so on. It cost them about five million dollars to accomplish that. However, Jim Hoffard said that five million dollars was a good investment because in return for the five million dollar loss, they got 13.3 percent equity in a 50 million dollar building. So it paid off. So I just wanted to record that, for an appendix to this memo.

Aaserud:

Is that kind of a model, do you think, or is it just an example?

Koch:

Well, I think it will be the same experience that AIP will have. A big fraction will not move. We had the same experience when we even moved this short distance, from New York City to Woodbury. For some groups, we lost everybody in that move, and other groups, oh, maybe 75, 80 percent of the people stayed behind and got other jobs. Now, I think the move to Washington will be to in many respects a similar kind of a location. It's not out in the sticks the way Woodbury is, out in the sticks compared to New York City. It's also a city environment down in Washington, and in many respects a much more attractive city environment, certainly to some people who know Washington.

Aaserud:

Not to me. But I'm not part of it anyway.

Koch:

I think we'll have the same experience here.

Aaserud:

Yes. Well, it seems to me that, you know, this sudden decision may be an excellent way of making people look for other options, so that it might lead to more people leaving than if it had been done smoothly.

Koch:

I'm afraid so. But that's water over the dam. You can argue that a sudden announcement like that gets people to sit up and take notice, and realize that it's a serious thing.

Aaserud:

Yes.

Koch:

And not just a whim. And it was an official action.

Aaserud:

Yes. But I mean there's no promise of incentives or anything going with it, it's just a decision as yet, right?

Koch:

Well, see, that is the kind of detail that you have to work out.

Aaserud:

Yes, but you have to work it out simultaneously, it seems to me.

Koch:

Well, they now have that opportunity to work it out by next March.

Aaserud:

Yes, right. But of course some people might have gotten other jobs by then, and the best people have the best chance of getting other jobs. That's another problem, of course.

Koch:

That's true. That's true. But you know, it's just like the question of what's the ideal or the best location for AIP headquarters. I once was asked to write a piece for the graduate students at the University of Illinois, and my piece was entitled something like, "There Is No Best of Anything." There is no best location for AIP. We've operated quite satisfactorily in New York for many years, and I have given the reasons for why, and I think we could operate very successfully in New York for many years to come. And Washington won't be the best location either. It has compromises to it. Incidentally, that reminds me of a related issue, and that is the one of the Engineers being located in New York. You know, some people will argue that, "Look, the Engineering Societies are all located in the Engineering Building. They haven't moved to Washington." And yet there's a new National Academy of Engineering, and there's a new attention to engineering at the NSF. You would think that they of all people would want to en mass go to Washington. But they have a unique problem, and that has to do with the way their building is owned and operated -­ the United Engineering Center. The problem is that a society that vacates its space in that engineering building loses all title to any equity that's in the building. Now, for example, suppose that you stay in the building, and suppose that all the occupants in the building decide they want to sell the building. Then, as I understand it, if it is sold, whatever fraction you own and occupy in the building, you will get that fraction of the equity at the price it's sold for. But if you leave the building, you have no equity at all. You have to be there.

Aaserud:

So it has to be a decision all across the board at one time.

Koch:

Well, it has to be a decision, yes, and you'll never get that from engineers. Hard enough for physicists, but particularly for the different engineering groups, civil and mechanical and chemical. Oh, it would be terribly difficult to get them all to decide. But this equity thing, and losing your right to have part of the equity, is the thing that keeps them all in that building. And what a millstone around their necks, the fact that that arrangement. Results in, is a terrible thing. So I think they each have adopted the procedure that we started with, and that is, with a smallish office in Washington. I used to think of that as, "Gee, that's a good model, and since they're doing it, we should do it." But then I realized, this equity problem for them, that's forcing them to do that. But we don't have that equity problem, and we can therefore more deliberately look at what our different options are. I think we've got some good options, and my argument is that we should move down to Washington — the educational programs as well as the headquarters, but with society headquarters as well, that are resident.

Aaserud:

Officially, at least, before the executive committee meeting, there were two options. That is, one to stay in New York City — either in the headquarters or find a new building — or to move. How realistic was the option to stay? Was there any movement behind that?

Koch:

Oh, I think that was a good option, for the immediate future. But for the long range future, I don't think it is a good option, for the reasons I've been given. But you know, this is just one person's opinion.

Aaserud:

Well, not any person's opinion though. You have more experience with this than anyone.

Koch:

Anybody can have his own opinion. But we really have worried a lot about it. The other members of the management group, I mean Marx and Gilbert, are not physicists. They look at the business of publishing and finance, they realize how important New York has been to AIP, and they project that it will continue to be as important as it has been in the past. So I think their conclusions would not agree with mine. I think their conclusions are that AIP very definitely should stay in New York, the headquarters.

Aaserud:

What is your ideal of a time scale for the move? Do you have any? You've probably written that down in the long term plans anyway, right?

Koch:

Not in any detail. I think with the kind of arrangement that AIAA has with a developer — for putting up most of the money, and renting out to other parties, but then having first option on increasing — they have an option of increasing each year more square feet in that new building. I think that would be the same procedure that AIP should use. So it would take say three years to decide to build a building, and then move some of the educational programs into that building. Then with time, you'd gradually increase the occupancy, but you would also rent out to other organizations the rest of the building. So you'd want to build a very substantial building, of the same size that we had projected in New York, say, 150,000 to 200,000 square feet in the building, and that kind of a building is a good sized building in Washington. It's not a good sized building in New York, because real estate in New York is still much more expensive. But in Washington, because of the zoning limitations, you can't go higher than the Capitol building. A building in Washington is much more acceptable, a smaller number of floors. You can't go above 10 or 12 floors.

Aaserud:

And personnel of course would have to change over time, too. I'm thinking about relations between people in education and people in publications and that kind of thing. You have different expertise, different numbers of people in different areas than you have now, right?

Koch:

Yes. Well, I would think that a move like this could be accomplished — should be accomplished — within something like five to seven years. But it should take that kind of time frame, rather than all of a sudden opening up the building and saying, "OK, now, next month everybody moves."

Aaserud:

But from your point of view, this has been something you've been looking forward to all the time since the move did start. Since the first people did come to Washington, that that might eventually happen. Or was there any particular point at which you decided that a full-scale move would be advantageous?

Koch:

No, it was just in the eighties. You know, we had this experience, and it was a low key thing, starting in the mid­seventies. But then when it became evident in the mid-eighties that the educational systems of the country were being criticized and more and more attention had to be given to physics, it was then that, as far as I'm concerned, it was obvious that one should move the educational programs. One had to change the whole complexion of AIP.

Aaserud:

To what extent have the societies had an opinion or been involved in these deliberations? If there have been any?

Koch:

Well, it's been all quite low key. I think it's been impressive that each of the societies has expressed an interest and an involvement in education. Our AIP educational policy committee, which has representatives from each society, helped demonstrate that. Now, we've just had that educational policy committee for the last four or five years. There were discussions there, but all relatively low key.

Aaserud:

Is there input from the AIP, or does it come from the societies, or is it an interaction?

Koch:

Each of the advisory committees — the history advisory committee, the PHYSICS TODAY advisory committee — we're regarded as subcommittees of this educational policy committee. And so AIP's programs were reviewed by that committee, and then they also had an opportunity to review to each other their own individual programs, and that was impressive, the fact that more and more attention is being given, no question.

Aaserud:

Yes. But to rephrase the question a little bit, has there been a parallel movement within all or some of the societies, towards an educational interest?

Koch:

Yes, there has been a parallel move and increased attention to educational matters.

Aaserud:

All across the board.

Koch:

I would say so.

Aaserud:

OK, I guess we’re getting close to the end, if you don't have any things to add?

Koch:

No. That's it. We've just been talking about the question of future directions of AIP that could particularly be accomplished by a Washington office, and I wanted to be sure to comment that, you know, we talked very generally about the expansion of AIP activities from the graduate school and undergraduate school programs, to high school and elementary school. So that's one expansion. But you know, you can see in all dimensions the need for expansion, and let me suggest to you some of the dimensions. We haven't talked about new societies that could become part of AIP, and the thing that you have to realize about AIP as an organization is that AIP is almost unique, and I think I wrote that earlier. It's unique among societies in providing a home for organizations like our member societies, particularly when they develop independently. See, when a new field comes up, like more attention to materials, like the Materials Research Society, it develops independently. It doesn't want to be part of the chemists, doesn't want to be engineering; it doesn't want to be physics. So it develops independently, in between the slots of the disciplines. Now, once it better defines its sphere of interest, by its members making presentations and papers and meetings, it then wants to get closer to one of the disciplines. Well, it will not find a friendly environment, don't think, in either the Chemical Society or the IEEE. But AIP, just because of its history, provides a friendly home, provides a central facility, you see. The other organizations don't provide that. On the other hand, societies that develop within the existing organizations like the Chemical Society and the IEEE, they tend to fragment, but those societies are quite willing to retain them. The Computer Society in the IEEE is a good example of this. The IEEE management is having a heck of a time with the Computer Society, because the Computer Society came to be so big and so restless. They want to have an identity of their own, but their budget comes from the IEEE budget. Not so our societies. Each of our individual societies has its own budget. And in fact, they get something by belonging to AIP. They get free services, and they're a financial burden to AIP, so they like that. They get something for nothing, whereas in the other organizations, they don't get anything for nothing. I wanted to make these points, in order to show that the dimension of expansion into more and more societies in the natural sciences will increase. I think the American Meteorological Society, for example, will more and more be interested in becoming a member society of AIP because AGU is a member. The Materials Research Society, at their last board meeting, got more attractive conditions for becoming an associate member society. I think they'll become an associate member society, and then eventually I think they'll become a member society. So you're going to see that increased coverage of societies. You're going to see more and more AIP providing an electronic network for this bigger number of societies and bigger number of members. And you will then, I believe, see chemistry providing a home for the biomedical sciences as well, so you're going to see an American Chemical society network. You will see an engineering network that will develop out of engineering information, and the various engineering societies. And thirdly, you're going to see an AIP. So those three major networks will provide most of the coverage of the natural sciences and engineering.

Aaserud:

So the network idea is still alive and well.

Koch:

Oh, by all means. Now, other dimensions will be covered. We've mentioned a little while ago, when the tape was off, that once one has the educational programs in Washington, once one has the leaderships and the headquarters, there's no question that an organization like AIP will have to provide writers that will be doing research work for society officers to provide testimony, to provide proposals to the federal agencies. There will have to be articles written for lay magazines by staff writers at the AIP -­ not only writing for PHYSICS TODAY, but writing for CHEMICAL ENGINEERING NEWS and other things — that will disseminate the rationale and justification for a broadly based physics discipline.

Aaserud:

Yes, so that's replacing publishing as the earlier centralizing force.

Koch:

That's right. Yes. But it's going to take money.

Aaserud:

Where it's going to come from? I asked where the money was going to come from?

Koch:

Well, it's going to have to come, as we said earlier, from the federal agencies — that's one. It's going to have to come from private foundations, and it's going to have to come from the membership of the societies.

Aaserud:

What will the restructuring do or not do to the tax exempt status?

Koch:

Nothing. In fact, it will strengthen the role of AIP as a charitable educational and scientific organization.

Aaserud:

That's right.

Koch:

See, we'll have to have money making efforts like book publishing programs that are designed specifically to make money, which then will be consumed by the educational programs. You realize that in 1977, when the IRS attacked AIP, if we did not have educational programs to consume the net income from the publishing program, we would not have been legitimate as a tax exempt organization. So the educational programs, and things on behalf of the discipline, on behalf of the country, on behalf of the science, are all things that more and more justify the tax exemption.

Aaserud:

Isn't there a danger in being accused of becoming more of an interest organization, and for that reason being investigated by the IRS again?

Koch:

Well, there will have to be greater and greater attention to the difference between a trade organization, which is a 501 C 6 40 organization, and an organization that is organized to advance and diffuse a science, and not the scientists.

Aaserud:

Exactly. But it might be difficult.

Koch:

Oh yes. There will have to be a lot of attention given to that.

Aaserud:

Yes. We talked earlier, you can stop me if you want to, but we did talk earlier about the possibility for bad decisions when people, you implied in particular physicists don't do their homework. Are there other examples of this in AIP history that we haven't touched upon? Is that a question that brings out memories that you would like to put on tape?

Koch:

Well, I had written something earlier, in the material that you had typed, and one of the decisions that almost was accomplished, but was reversed, was the elimination of the history program.

Aaserud:

That's right.

Koch:

And just to repeat what I have written, and that you had typed last week, the AIP went through an expansionary period up until 1968. From 1968 on, things were downhill. The NSF budgets were being decreased. The number of physicists being produced was going down and down. Subscriptions were going down and down.

Aaserud:

But AIP is still growing, and that's your point.

Koch:

That's right, but in the 1970s, we were still of a mentality at AIP, that we wanted to have things as inexpensively as possible for libraries, and so our journals were very marginally priced. We did not make much money. In fact, sometimes we were on the verge of losing money. It was only after commercial publishers came into the business, after the mid-1970s, that we started to jack up our prices, and then be able to enjoy income. And we were just doing that to be consistent with the way the whole marketplace was operating. With commercial publishers taking advantage of libraries and their budgets, well, AIP increased, but we were still very low relatively in price. But nevertheless, we jacked up our prices. But early in the 1970s, we were marginally priced. We were almost living hand to mouth with our budgeting. And in that framework, we were very reluctant to have any deficit budgeting. If there was a projected deficit, we tried to wipe it out. We were always afraid of increasing our prices, because we thought then subscriptions would really start going down. Well, we soon realized that increasing the prices didn't really affect the subscriptions very much. There were other phenomena happening. But early 1970s, we were still marginally pricing, and we had a projected deficit. Well, how do you overcome that projected deficit one year? And I think it might have been 1972 or 1973; one can look it up. It was when Gerry Holton, one year, was on the executive committee. And it so happened that the December budget meeting, in whatever year that was, was considered on a day that there was a heavy snowfall, in New York, but principally in Boston. Gerry Holton was supposed to have caught the Shuttle to La Guardia, and he was delayed by about three hours. When he came into the meeting, he leaned over to me and said, "What was accomplished this morning?" And I said that Bill Havens had proposed, in order to avoid the deficit budget, quite justifiably, eliminating the history program, and that would save $100,000. And Gerry Holton, when he heard that, got quite upset that he had not had an opportunity to express his viewpoint that could then also influence the decision and lead to perhaps in his view a more proper decision. So he requested re-opening the issue, and it was re-opened. After he gave his arguments, the history program was reinstated. But that would have really been quite tragic. And you asked for an example of wrong decisions. Well, that was a wrong decision. I can't tell you how important that history program has been to AIP, and particularly in the new direction that I think AIP must take. It's the very foundation of it. And to save $100,000 — well, that was terrible. Now, other decisions, well, other decisions you know you can always quibble with whether a decision is right or wrong. The time AIP management had made a proposal to move the headquarters, as well as the publishing, everything, out to a building in Lake Success. In the evening of the governing board meeting, it seemed like the proposal was going to be approved, but by the next morning, there had been sufficient lobbying going on among the members of the board that they voted that proposal down. Now, at the time, I thought that was most unfortunate, but with time, we then were forced to look for other options. We then settled on the Woodbury facility, and now in retrospect it maybe was fortunate that the complete move from New York City out to Lake Success was turned down. It might have been one of the best things that have happened. So there's a wrong decision that was really perhaps in the long run the right decision. And you see, that's why you almost have to very openly discuss all the issues, and if people are not prepared for a decision at the particular time, give them time, and air all the issues, because you're dealing with lots of bright people, and if they hear all the presentations, they'll finally make the right decision, I believe. That's why communication is so important, particularly in our environment. It isn't as important in a single monolithic organization like an AIAA or American Chemical Society or IEEE, but where we've got so many diverse groups, it's very important here.

Aaserud:

Are there other examples of important or potentially important decisions recommended by the executive committee being then turned down by the governing board? Is that a usual occurrence or an unusual occurrence?

Koch:

I can't recall any. While not being able to recall any specific examples, I would offhand react that it's not unusual. But I can't now give you another example where it happened.

Aaserud:

The scale of the decision in this case is of course bigger than usual too, so it will be remembered for that reason.

Koch:

That's right. But where there are other societies that are not represented on the executive committee, the board often is uninhibited by what the executive committee decides. It isn’t: necessarily a foregone conclusion that if the executive committee recommends it, it will be approved by the board.

Aaserud:

Of course, these interviews are supposed to have a very strong personal element in them. I mean, it's supposed to be about the career of the person. And we haven't talked all that much about your efforts in this whole area, you know, your efforts for and against certain decisions, your opinions in the executive committee or within AIP, that kind of thing. I don't know if you can add some on that, as a conclusion to this.

Koch:

There is one thing I'd like to say in that regard. That is that my opinions and my efforts, I don't think were all that important. It's because of my own conviction about what really makes AIP operate. My own conviction is that anyone individual should not feel that they know all the answers, and particularly as AIP gets bigger and bigger. There has to be the development of a procedure for developing a consensus here. I don't know if you've seen this retirement party tape that was made, where I made some of these comments. Have you ever seen that?

Aaserud:

No, I don't think I've seen that.

Koch:

Oh, you ought to see it. I've always been very pleased by it. But I made some remarks there that indicated the group that really should get the credit. I was at the retirement party and that's only natural that there's a focus on an individual, and that's the person who's retiring, with people saying many nice things about that individual. But what I wanted to emphasize in my response to the nice remarks was that I shouldn't get all the credit. It is in fact the management committee, where we developed a real procedure for developing consensus. I would always try a trial balloon, and then give some arguments, but then listen to what others said, and then change the one person opinion. In fact, maybe that's what's wrong with the recent handling of the move question. These are one person's opinion about a move, and the most desirable location in Washington. It's got to be aired, and it will be aired; there's no question about that. That's why I'd like to write this up as quickly as I can, and then have some distribution of it and get some reactions to it. But one person's opinion around here shouldn't carryall that much weight. It's really got to be a number of people's opinions. You know, at my retirement party, I gave Ken Ford a book it was written by this guy that talks about the future a lot — Nesbitt, is that his name? Anyway, if you look at the retirement tape and you'll see that I gave Ken Ford a book.

Aaserud:

Where do I get the retirement tape?

Koch:

Oh, get it in the history library.

Aaserud:

Oh, it's there already?

Koch:

Of course. You haven't done your homework. You must look at that.

Aaserud:

True. That's embarrassing.

Koch:

Anyway, there is a little pocketbook, a soft cover book, which I gave to Ken Ford. The two principal directions that are mentioned in that book are, first, that no longer are organizations having one person make a decision, because that one person can't know everything. There's got to be a small group of people in any organization making the decisions. And secondly, there has to be as much participation as possible by the staff, so that they can feel that they're participating in decisions. That's what I got out of this book, and when I read the book, said, "By golly, that's just what we've been doing." So you see if it isn't correct. Maybe that's an answer to your question.

Aaserud:

That one person you're not naming, is that Kenneth Ford?

Koch:

I would hope that he will use that as a guide to developing his own techniques for developing a consensus among the management, and then develop techniques for real participation with the staff.

Aaserud:

I wondered whether you were implying that there was one person in particular who was so strongly for the move, and that was what led to the decision?

Koch:

Ken was very much for the move, and Hans Frauenfelder was very much for the move. But they personally had convinced themselves, and what I'm saying is that I think they went about it that way just because they were new on the scene, and I think now that the board has appropriately reacted. I'm sure that they both will learn from that, and have greater consensus develop with the management and greater participation on the part of the staff.

Aaserud:

Fine. Well, let's end it there.

Koch:

now, I don't want to appear at all like I'm criticizing Ford or Frauenfelder because I don't want to do that. I want to assist them in every way I can. They are both marvelous people, great backgrounds, and I think they will lead AIP in the right direction. In fact, they themselves convinced themselves, in the same way that I convinced myself, but maybe because they're so much smarter and sharper, they did it much more quickly than I was able to. It took me a number of years to develop the same opinions.

Aaserud:

No, I didn't mean to make you say bad things about people. I just wanted have some names too so that I'm sure of what we're talking about.

Koch:

Right.

Aaserud:

So, OK, let's stop here.

Session I | Session II | Session III | Session IV | Session V | Session VI