June 4, 1953

Executive Committee of the American Institute of Physics

Minutes of Meeting

Present: George R. Harrison, Karl K. Darrow, Frederick V. Hunt, Brian O’Brien, George B. Pegram, Frederick Seitz, Mark W. Zemansky

Guest: Stanley S. Ballard

AIP Staff: Henry A. Barton, Wallace Waterfall, Betty H. Goodfriend, Virginia B. Tyson

Chairman Harrison called the meeting to order at 9:21 a.m.

1. Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting of April 7, 1953 were approved as circulated.

2. Status of 1956 Meeting:

The Secretary reported that reservations had been made for the Penn Zone hotels, plus Manhattan Center, for the week of February 6 to 11, 1956. The Committee which will be responsible for the arrangements is complete except for the representative of the Optical Society. Mr. O’Brien said a representative will soon be appointed for the Optical Society. The present members of the Committee are Messrs. Darrow, Firestone, Willets, Waterfall, and Wolfe. A Committee meeting will be planned for early fall, probably in September.

3. Status of Amendment to the Constitution:

The Director stated that letters had been sent to all Member Societies on the proposed amendment to the Constitution providing that the Chairman of the Institute need not be a member of the Board. The Acoustical Society has approved the amendment, the Physical Society has voted against it, and the Optical Society has discussed it briefly but has not given an opinion as yet, since the Institute letter regarding the proposal arrived too late for their last Board of Directors meeting. AAPT and the S of R have not yet acted.

4. Building Plans:

The Secretary reviewed information given at previous meetings pointing to the need for more office space for Institute operations. The present staff of 48 people may have to be nearly doubled during the next ten years if the services requested by Member Societies and others continue to increase at the present rate. This rate of growth is in line with the projected increase of the physics population. The possibility of moving the Institute offices has been considered in detail but the consensus appears to be that we should remain where we are if practical.

The net floor space now being used by the various departments totals approximately 5200 square feet. A study of our building by Vermilya-Brown has indicated that a total of 9,000 to 10,000 square feet of useable space can be provided by a five-story addition at the rear and internal remodeling at a cost of $100,000 to $125,000. This figure includes a new elevator and other modernization, some of which would be required by the New York City building authorities.

The need for air-conditioning units in the office on the south side of the building was emphasized. Not only are these offices very hot in summer but the noise from traffic on 55th Street makes it difficult to use the rooms with the windows open. The cost of air-conditioning units for those rooms would be about $5,000.

The Secretary said that the staff has studied the entire problem as thoroughly as possible and recommended that authorization be given to proceed with the following, which should take care of space requirements for five years or more:

  1. A two-story addition at the rear of the building at a cost of approximately $17,000.
  2. Internal modifications intended to increase the usability of present floor space and including improvements in plumbing and lighting facilities. Cost approximately $5,000.
  3. Air-conditioning units for the offices on the south side of the building at a cost of approximately $5,000.

The whole subject was discussed at some length by the Committee. During the discussion, the Secretary pointed out that the Institute’s building fund now contains about $17,500 from the following sources:

Residue as of the beginning of the year Approximately $5000
Transferred from surplus at Executive Committee meeting of March 13, 1953 7500
Anonymous contribution recently received 5000
Total $17,500

The discussion was concluded with the following motions which were unanimously carried:

MOVED that the AIP staff be authorized to proceed with the installation of air-conditioning units in the offices on the south side of the building at a cost of approximately $5,000, the anonymous gift of $5,000 to the building fund to be used for this purpose.

MOVED that the AIP staff be authorized to proceed with the construction of a two-story addition at the rear of the Institute building at a cost of approximately $17,000 and with other internal alterations costing approximately $5,000.

MOVED that $10,000 of the $20,000 appropriated by the Governing Board at its meeting of March 14, 1953 be transferred to the building fund for purposes indicated in the above motions, assuming that the Committee on Future Housing concurs with the proposals made.

5. Contract with the Optical Society:

The Secretary reviewed the history and present status of the publication agreement between the Optical Society and the Institute. The existing agreement has been cancelled by the Optical Society, effective December 31, 1953.

The background of the cancellation and the progress of negotiations to arrive at a mutually satisfactory new agreement were discussed by the Committee. Mr. O’Brien requested that further discussion be deferred until after lunch, at which time he had requested Mr. Ballard to join the Committee to present his arguments for the new type of contract which the Optical Society had submitted.

(At this point the Committee recessed for lunch and Mr. Ballard joined the group)

For Mr. Ballard’s information, the discussion of the morning was briefly reviewed. Mr. Ballard then distributed copies of the suggested contract which the Optical Society had submitted previously and explained the reasons behind the various provisions. From the lengthy discussion which followed, it became evident that none of the Committee members, except Mr. O’Brien, favored the proposed plan of setting unit prices for AIP services for each year, six months before the beginning thereof. The principal arguments against the proposed contract were that:

  1. It would be impossible for the Institute to estimate costs exactly, which means that the Institute would be forced to “bid” actually higher than anticipated cost and hence some form of renegotiation would eventually be necessary if all Member Societies are to be treated equitably.
  2. The proposal would increase the cost of AIP accounting and would thus increase costs to all societies.
  3. Not all services of the Institute to Member Societies can be set up on a unit price basis which will apply to all Societies because of dissimilarity of Society operations.

During the discussion Mr. Ballard made the point that an important reason for the Optical Society’s action was their feeling that they were not sufficiently informed about Institute costs and accounting procedures and, therefore, Society officers were committing themselves to expenses without having beforehand any estimate of what they would be. This led to the suggestion that some better plan might be devised for explaining cost accounting and that an estimate of costs might be furnished to each Society each year to guide it in budgeting. Believing that the discussion had served to clear the atmosphere, it was the consensus that it may now be possible to draft an agreement which will be acceptable to both parties. The following motion was made and unanimously carried:

MOVED that Messrs. Ballard and Waterfall be appointed as a committee to attempt to draft an agreement which will be acceptable to both the Optical Society and to the Institute and report back to the Executive Committee.

6. National Science Foundation Proposal:

The previous discussion on this subject was reviewed briefly. NSF has now suggested that Institute activities in keeping an up-to-date roster of physicists might better be handled on a grant basis and has invited the Institute to apply for a grant.

The Institute staff proposed that the job might be done by taking over existing NSF records and employing two new staff members who would start systematically to review those records, bring them up-to-date, and add new names (principally graduate students) as they can be obtained. The work would be done with a minimum of new questionnaires and planned so that all existing information on physicists would be brought up-to-date in about two years. It was suggested that a grant of about $15,000 per year should be requested to cover salaries, office space, postage, office supplies and supervision.

There was a question about the wisdom of the Institute’s undertaking this work. Mr. O’Brien asked whether it would really advance the cause of physics and expressed the opinion that it might jeopardize the Institute’s independence of action in case of national emergency. Mr. Darrow also wondered whether it might involve the Institute in undesirable regimentation of physicists. It was pointed out that some such roster will inevitable be developed by some government agency and it can be done more satisfactorily and with less disturbance to physicists if handled by the Institute. The information would be useful to the Institute. In case of real national emergency all physicists would want to cooperate anyway and the Institute would then be in a position to use its influence toward the best utilization of available manpower.

The following motion was made and carried by a vote of four to two (Messrs. O’Brien and Darrow voted in the negative).

MOVED that the appropriate officers of the Institute be authorized to negotiate for a grant of approximately $15,000 per year from the National Science Foundation for the purpose of establishing and maintaining an up-to-date roster of physicists with the understanding that details of operation are subject to further consideration and with the further understanding that future grants will be available to continue the work for a period of at least three years.

7. Finance Committee Report:

The Secretary read the report of the meeting of the Finance Committee of May 26, 1953, copy of which is attached. A motion to accept the report was made and carried.

The Secretary then read the statement of the Institute for the first quarter of 1953. He explained that the first quarter statement is misleading as it almost always shows a loss because of the nature of Institute operations. The first quarter of last year also showed a loss. He explained that, in the opinion of the staff, operations are proceeding about according to budget.


The Director reported that, since Gaylord Harnwell has been appointed as President of the University of Pennsylvania, he has asked to be relieved of his duties as Editor of RSI and Editorial Director of PHYSICS TODAY. Mr. Harnwell had indicated his continuing interest in both Journals and suggested he would be willing to continue his association with PHYSICS TODAY in some advisory capacity. There were comments about the problems involved in finding a successor and the following motions were made and carried:

MOVED that the Institute accept Mr. Harnwell’s resignation with regret and express to him its great indebtedness for the outstanding service he has rendered to both Journals.

MOVED that Mr. Harnwell be appointed Chairman of the Editorial Board of PHYSICS TODAY and that Mr. Davis be appointed Editor.

MOVED that a committee composed of the following men be appointed to consider and report on the present status of and future prospects for RSI and to recommend a new editor for RSI:

  • Brian O’Brien, Chairman
  • R. Bowling Barnes
  • Gaylord P. Harnwell
  • Elmer Hutchisson
  • Paul E. Klopsteg
  • I. Melville Stein

9. AIP Symposium on Applied Nuclear Physics:


The Director reported visits to the General Electric Company, Argonne National Laboratories, Detroit Edison Company, and Bendix Aviation Company to discuss the proposed symposium. There was a lack of enthusiasm on the part of researchers in the field. This was partly due to the multiplicity of meetings, as similar ones will be held at Rochester (APS) this month, Berkeley in December, and Ann Arbor a year from now. Nevertheless an applied physics meeting in this field seems called for, and would be welcomed by those not active in it, including students and their professors. Case Institute in Cleveland would be interested in cooperating with the Institute in such a symposium to be held there.

The discussion dealt with the proper sponsorship of the symposium. An alternative suggestion was advanced, namely, to attach a one-day symposium to the APS-AAPT annual meeting in January 1955. No action was taken, pending further developments.

10. Scientific Manpower Commission:

The Director referred to the recent incorporation and organization of the SMC. It now has offices at 1530 P Street, Washington D.C. Dr. Howard Meyerhoff has been appointed Director and will devote essentially full time to this position. Activities have only just begun. The Commission has, however, endorsed the proposed Amendment to the Armed Forces Reserve Act of 1952.

The Director mentioned also a Committee for Manpower Legislation on which a member of engineering, scientific, and other groups are represented. The Director had, on invitation of the Engineering Manpower Commission which set up the Committee, named Dr. Trytten as the Institute’s representative. After meeting with the group, Dr. Trytten proposed that the Institute address a letter to Secretary of Defense Wilson on the Amendment to the Armed Forces Reserve Act. The Amendment calls for a civilian-military board in the Office of the President to advise on policies and procedures for the calling up of reserve personnel. Such a letter was sent, after mail consultation with the Executive Committee, by Chairman Harrison to Secretary Wilson. It was moved and carried that the letter to Secretary Wilson be incorporated into the minutes of the meeting. The letter is attached.

11. AIP Representatives on Publication Board:

The Secretary stated that it was necessary that the Institute annually appoint three representatives to the Publication Board. He suggested that the three present representatives be reappointed as has been done heretofore. It was moved and carried that Director Barton, Publication Manager Bryans, and Secretary Waterfall be reappointed for the present committee year. It was also moved and carried that Earle C. Gregg, Assistant Editor of JAP be reappointed for one year, effective as of January 1, 1953.

12. Columbia University Bicentennial:

The Secretary read a letter from Richard R. Powell, Director of the Bicentennial, asking what plans the Institute was making to participate in the Bicentennial. Since the Institute arranges few meetings and has none planned for 1954, it was recommended that we suggest to our Member Societies the possibilities of cooperating in some manner with the Bicentennial. The Secretary was instructed to write Columbia University, advising them of the information we have about the plans of the American Physical Society to hold a meeting at Columbia early in 1954 and of the plans of the Acoustical Society to have its twenty-fifth Anniversary Meeting in New York City in June of 1954. The Acoustical Society has assigned one of its members at Columbia to work on a tie-in with the Bicentennial.

13. National Research Council:

The Director reported further conversations with representatives of the NRC about closer cooperation between the Institute and the Council. The principal need seems to be better communication between the two organizations and it was suggested that this could be partially accomplished by sending copies of the minutes of Institute meetings to the Chairman of the Division of Physical Sciences of NRC. On motion it was unanimously agreed that copies of the Executive Committee and Governing Board minutes should be sent to the Chairman of the Division of Physical Sciences, National Research Council.

14. Federation of American Scientists:

The Director stated that the Federation has been very active in publishing news of interest to scientists, and that the Institute has found their releases useful. He explained that it is possible to subscribe to the news letter and other news services without joining the Federation at a cost of $25 a year. The Institute has subscribed. Additional subscriptions are offered at $10 a year in case any Institute officers or Board members wish to subscribe. Many of the Committee members appeared to be receiving the services and none requested a subscription.

15. Bulletin of Atomic Scientists:

The Secretary read a note regarding the request from Gerard Piel, Editor of Scientific American, that the Institute allow the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists to use the AIP membership list to promote subscriptions, waiving the regular fee of $20 a thousand. There was some discussion about what effort the Institute should make to help the Bulletin increase its circulation, and it was agreed that the AIP should offer to do the addressing at cost. (Approximately $40 for the entire list)


The Secretary reported that ACTA has now published two issues with a third in production, and has developed a total of 2,000 subscriptions over the world. He stated that it is being published by the University of Toronto Press at a cost, including postage and mailing, of $35 a page, which does not compare favorably with the production of similar journals printed by the Lancaster Press, at a range of $25 to $27 a page. Editorial mechanics is costing $4 a page, whereas Institute costs for similar services are $2.50 a page and lower. The Society for Metals is underwriting the publication.

17. Reprint Prices:

The Director reported that a new scale of reprint prices had been developed and approved by the Publication Board. These new prices are being reported to the Member Societies and will be put into effect as soon as possible.

18. The date for the next Committee meeting was tentatively set as August 27.

The meeting was adjourned at 4:10 pm.