February 20, 1936

Executive Committee of the American Institute of Physics

Minutes of Meeting

I. The Executive Committee met at the call of the Chairman at 9:50 a.m., Thursday, February 20, 1936, at the office of the Institute, 11 East 38th Street, New York, N. Y. The meeting was called to order by the Secretary.

Present: Messrs. Fletcher, Hunter, Palmer, Pegram, Richtmyer, Mr. Tate, Advisor on Publications, Mr. Barton, Director of the Institute, Miss Mitchell, Executive Secretary, and Mr. Wilson, Assistant to Chairman K. T. Compton.

Absent: Chairman K. T. Compton.

Mr. Wilson informed the Committee that Mr. Compton had been ordered by his physician to take a rest for the sake of his health and that he was now at the Massachusetts General Hospital for diagnosis but in any case would have to ask to be relieved of as many responsibilities as possible among them the chairmanship of the Governing Board of the Institute of Physics.

On motion Mr. Tate was asked to preside at this meeting.

II. The Minutes of the meeting of June 7, 1935 were read and on motion approved.

III. Assistant Treasurer:

On motion it was voted:

that Theresa A. Kraus be reappointed Assistant Treasurer with power to sign and endorse checks for the American Institute of Physics Incorporated and to perform such other duties as assigned to her by the Treasurer until December 31, 1936 or until further action by this Executive Committee or by the Governing Board.

IV. Exchange Journals:

At its meeting on June 7, 1935 this Committee directed Mr. Barton to confer with the editors of the several publications of the Institute on the possibility of reducing the cost of sending copies of our journals in exchange for other journals. Mr. Barton reported that he had conferred with the several editors, that they have given consideration to the question of making such revision of practice as will be in accord with the general policy of keeping down the expense of exchanges.

V. Division of Physical Sciences of National Research Council:

A letter was read from the Vice-Chairman of the Division of Physical Sciences of the National Research Council requesting the American Institute of Physics to nominate for election to the Division of Physical Sciences a successor to the present representative, Mr. H. A. Barton, whose term will expire on June 30, 1936.

On motion it was voted:

to nominate for reelection for the three year term ending June 30, 1939 Mr. H. A. Barton.

VI. Report of Governing Board to Annual Meeting of Members:

Mr. Barton presented to the Committee material which he had prepared for the Annual Report, the first part dealing with the publications of the Institute of Physics for the year, and the second part being the complete auditors’ report for the American Institute of Physics Incorporated for the year ending December 31, 1935 as submitted by the firm of certified public accountants, Pasley and Conroy, 63 Wall Street, New York, N.Y. After discussion of Mr. Barton’s draft and amendment by the addition of a paragraph about the joint meeting of the Institute and of the member societies with particular emphasis on applied physics planned for October 1936, and the addition of the report on the Pittsburgh meeting of the Advisory Council on Applied Physics of the Institute, it was on motion voted:

to approve this draft as amended as the Annual Report of the Board for presentation to the Annual Meeting to be held on February 21, 1936.

Copy of the Annual Report, except the auditors’ report, is appended to the official copy of these Minutes.

Several pages of tabulated information bearing on the following subjects were laid before the Committee and discussed in order but no action was taken until after preliminary discussion of all of the topics:

  • Budget for the Institute – Table 1
  • Budget for Review of Scientific Instruments – Table 2
  • Proposal for Revised Financing – Tables 3 and 4

Adjournment for luncheon was taken at one o’clock and the Committee reassembled at three p.m.


VII. American Physics Teacher:

The American Association of Physics Teachers had asked that the Institute consider authorizing the Association to secure and carry advertising in its journal, The American Physics Teacher, in order to enable it to meet the expenses of publication. After discussion of the difficult situation of the Association in conducting this new journal and the disadvantages and advantages of giving up the present policy of the Institute as to carrying advertising only in the Review of Scientific Instruments it was on motion voted:

that the Executive Committee recommend to the Governing Board that the Institute make a grant of $400.00 to the American Association of Physics Teachers toward the expense of publication of its journal provided such action should meet the unanimous approval of the Governing Board.

VIII. Budget for Review of Scientific Instruments:

On motion of Mr. Pegram it was voted:

that the following budget for 1936 for the Review of Scientific Instruments be recommended to the Governing Board for adoption:

Review of Scientific Instruments Budget for 1936
Income 1935 Operation 1936 Budget
Subscriptions $492.41 $6,600
Net Income from Published Articles and Reprints 699.65 700
Net Income from Sales of Single Copies 205.98 200
Net Income from Advertising 6,440.45 6,000
Miscellaneous 124.34 0
Total $7,962.83 $13,500
Printing and Mailing 9,309.35 7,700
Editorial Mechanics Expenses 864.18 1,000
Editor’s Office Salaries and Expenses 2,022.83 2,000
Business Management Expenses 2,551.32 2,600
Total $14,747.68 $13,300
Excess of Expense Over Income $6,784.85 -$200*

(This budget is to provide for 750 pages in 1936 as against 736 for 1935)


IX. Budget for the Institute:

On motion of Mr. Richtmyer it was voted:

to adopt for recommendation to the Governing Board the following budget for the Institute for 1936.

Budget for 1936 American Institute of Physics Incorporated
Income 1935 budget 1935 Actual 1936 budget
Service Charge $10,500 $10,347.31 $10,000
Dues of Associate Members (net) 2,200 1,551.00 3,000
Contributions 0 3,000.00 1,000
Miscellaneous 50 18.52 0
Total $12,750 $14,916.83 $14,000
Organization and Education      
  American Physics Teacher     400
  Salaries 6,300 6,077.29 7,300
  Other expenses 2,000 1,071.22 1,900
Travelling exp. 1,200 698.41 1,000
Reorganizing R.S.I. 0 218.53 200
Office expenses 1,500 1,612.63 1,600
Total $11,000 $9,678.08 $12,400
Excess Income over Expense 1,750 5,238.75 1,600
Excess Income over Expense R.S.I. 7,000* 6,784.85* 200
Total for year $5,250* $1,546.10* $1,800


X. Proposal for Revising Financing:

A suggested plan for a different basis of payments from the member societies to the Institute (see tables below) was discussed and left on the table.

Proposal for Revised Financing

  1. At present we charge 15% of all Journal Costs. This has proven objectionable on the following grounds:

    1. The percentage is regarded as high.
    2. It is applied on costs like Editorial Mechanics and Business Management incurred in this office (as well as on printing) and conveys to the Member Societies the impression of a “tax on a tax”.
    3. It draws attention to the cost side of the account and has frequently been tacitly considered a part of the cost of publication, making this too high.
    4. It varies directly with the extent to which a Member Society shares in the journal publishing load. It might be argued that inversely would be fairer.
    5. It ignores capacity to pay.
    6. For some or all of these reasons, its true character is generally lost sight of and the Institute is frequently criticized.
  2. It seems more logical for the Member Societies to provide for their cooperation through the Institute out of income. Carrying out this thought, it is found possible to eliminate the above damaging aspects and to introduce new positive advantages. After consideration of a number of proposals and scales the following is offered as a basis of consideration:

    1. All subscription income not a part of dues and all miscellaneous income of the journals* shall be collected by the Institute and credited to the respective journals after deduction of a “commission” of 10%.
    2. For each member in good standing (i.e., receiving a journal for part of his dues), the Society shall contribute to the Institute’s cooperative work 7 ½% of the dues of that member, providing this does not exceed $0.50, in which case the payment shall be limited to this amount.

    *reprint sales, single copy sales, publication charge.

  3. The effect of this change, aside from eliminating the disadvantages listed above, would be to:

    1. Lower the total charge made to each Society. (It is assumed that income from industrial associates will make this up and also that a lowering of the load on the Societies is desirable at this time as tangible evidence of progress.)
    2. Recognize the right of individuals undertaking responsibility of membership to preferential treatment.
    3. Emphasize the income rather than the cost side of operations.
    4. Operate as an incentive to this or future Institute staff to increase income rather than as a discouragement of efforts to reduce cost.
  4. Furthermore, the idea of a commission on collections is a generally more acceptable one and a more recognized business practice than the “plus” on cost-plus schemes. To no inconsiderable extent, the prestige of the Institute, its publicity, etc., and its detailed procedures which directly encourage added subscriptions, earn a commission and the percentages involved are more reasonable than those usually expected by subscription and other agencies whose efforts toward more business are worthless. A commission on increased subscriptions and members is thus more appropriately correlated with the Institute’s aims and efforts which in large part are directed toward producing such increases.

New Proposal for Support of Institute Cooperative Service

Societies and Journals Member Subscriptions Amount per Member Subscription Total from Societies gross income other than from societies
A.P.S. 2374 0.50 1,187.00 ---
  Phys. Rev. 1990 --- --- 26,324.08
  Physics 245 --- --- 6,439.89
  R.M.P. 139 --- --- 7,194.64
O.S.A. 539 0.375 202.13 5,671.57
A.S.A. 582 0.375 218.25 3,406.38
Soc. Of Rh. 97 0.45 43.65 ---
A.A.P.T. 702 0.225 157.95 1,386.24
J.C.P. --- --- --- 11,667.01
R.S.I. --- --- --- 10,237.16
Total     $1,808.98 $72,326.97
Societies and Journals 10% Total Commission Service Charge 1935
A.P.S. ---    
  Phys. Rev. $2,632.41 $5,182.86 $5,976.37
  Physics 643.99 --- ---
  R.M.P. 719.46 --- ---
O.S.A. 567.16 769.29 1,097.86
A.S.A. 340.64 558.89 765.29
Soc. Of Rh. --- 43.65 ---
A.A.P.T. 138.62 296.57 462.73
J.C.P. 1,166.70 1,166.70 1,748.75
R.S.I. --- --- ---
Total $6,208.98 $8,017.96 $10,051.00

XI. Staff Salaries:

On motion of Mr. Fletcher it was voted:

that the Director be authorized to put into effect such salary changes for the staff involving not more than about ten per cent of the total as appear to him to be necessary for the effectiveness of the staff and that the Director be further authorized to make use of more liberal provisions for vacations in such way as may seem wise.

XII. Removal of Office:

The Executive Committee on motion confirmed the vote taken by mail that the Institute should move to space in the Flatiron Building, 175 Fifth Avenue, 23rd Street, and Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y., at a rental of not more than $2,160.00.

XIII. Authorization to Sign Lease:

On motion it was voted:

that the Executive Committee authorize H. A. Barton, Director of the Institute, and George B. Pegram, Secretary of the Governing Board, to sign a lease for the Institute at a yearly rental of not more that $2,160.00 for office space in the Flatiron Building.

XIV. Meeting of the Governing Board:

On motion it was voted:

that a meeting of the Governing Board should be called for Saturday, March 21, 1936 at 9:30 a.m. at the office of the Institute or at Columbia University.

XV. Honor Award at Joint Meeting in October 1936:

Mr. Barton presented for discussion a proposal that at the joint meeting of the Institute and the member societies to be held in October 1936 a medal or other appropriate award for distinguished accomplishment in applied physics to be given. The reaction of the Committee was favorable to a consideration of this suggestion and the Chair was on motion authorized to appoint a committee to study the means of carrying out the suggestion. The Chair appointed Messrs. Barton and Fletcher.

XVI. On motion the Executive Committee adjourned at 5:15 p.m.