March 11, 1955

Executive Committee of the American Institute of Physics

Minutes of Meeting

Present: Frederick Seitz, Chairman, Karl K. Darrow, Deane B. Judd, Hugh S. Knowles, Ralph A. Sawyer

Absent: George B. Pegram, Mark W. Zemansky

AIP Staff Present: Henry A. Barton, Wallace Waterfall, Mary Ann Lee

Chairman Seitz called the meeting to order at 10:10 a.m.

1. Minutes

The Secretary said one Committee member had felt there was some ambiguity concerning the wording of the motion in item 6, page 7, of the minutes of December 11, 1954. Dr. Darrow suggested that the wording of his motion be changed to read “00:01 on January 1, 1955” instead of one minute after midnight. With this change the minutes were accepted as circulated.

2. Financial Report for 1954

The Secretary distributed copies of a financial statement for the calendar year 1954 (copy attached). This statement gives figures for the 1954 budget, the performance for the year 1954, and the budget for 1955, previously adopted. He explained that the figures for the year 1954 have now been officially audited and that copies of the Auditors Report have been sent to the Secretaries of all Member Societies.

When the budget for 1955 had been approved at the meeting of December 11, 1954, figures for three-quarters of 1954 operations were available and a net over-all deficit for the year of $1,750 had been projected. The actual experience for 1954 was an over-all net income of $1,751.11. This is considerably better than the deficit of $6,900 which was originally budgeted for 1954 but represents very close budgeting when the magnitude of Institute operations is considered.

The Secretary explained the variations between the 1954 budget and 1954 experience in some detail, many of the comments being along the same lines as those given at the meeting of December 11. He said that the staff was definitely not satisfied with the advertising revenue in 1954 and that steps had already been taken to add to the manpower and promotional efforts of that department. Results so far this year have been promising.

No action was requested or taken by the Committee but, during the discussion which followed, the Chairman said that his principal regret about 1954 financial performance and the 1955 budget was that no money had been laid aside for a building reserve.

3. Change in Engraving Prices for 1955

The budget for 1955, adopted at the meeting of December 11, 1954, provided for a ten percent increase in engraving prices. Since then the staff had discussed the situation with the engraver and had persuaded him to retain his 1954 prices through 1995. It would therefore appear that our budget for engraving and art work for 1955 may be about ten percent higher than need be. It was agreed that this outcome is fortunate but that no change should be made in the budget.

4. Russian Translation Project

The Secretary reported that Dr. Gray had now completed his report on this project. Before the meeting, the Secretary had circulated copies of the report to members of the Committee along with copies of a proposed letter addressed to the National Science Foundation requesting that NSF agree to underwrite the publication of a Russian translation journal by the Institute and grant the sum of $40,000 to cover the anticipated first year’s deficit of the journal (copy of proposal letter and report attached). The Secretary requested that the submission of the report and the proposal letter be approved by the Executive Committee. This was followed by some discussion and a number of questions, after which the following motion was made, seconded, and passed without dissenting vote:

MOVED that the Committee approve the submission of Dr. Gray’s report to the National Science Foundation and that the Institute submit the aforementioned proposal letter to the Foundation.

5. Contribution to the Scientific Manpower Commission

The Director explained that the Institute had contributed $1000 toward the maintenance of the Scientific Manpower Commission in 1953 but had not been asked for any money in 1954. The Director explained that he believed the Commission had been making considerable progress and that continued support of the Commission by the Institute was desirable. He had just received a request for a second $1000 contribution in 1955 and suggested that it be approved. The following motion was made, seconded, and passed without dissenting vote:

MOVED that the AIP contribute $1000 in 1955 to support the work of the Scientific Manpower Commission.

6. Approval of Bendix Aviation Corporation as an Associate of the AIP

The Secretary reported that an application and a check for $250 dues had been received from Bendix Aviation Corporation. The Committee unanimously approved the election of Bendix Aviation Corporation as an Associate of the Institute.

7. Appointment of Committee on Physics Teaching

At the last meeting the Director explained that the National Science Foundation had requested assistance from the Institute in the establishment of summer institutes for high school and college teachers of science. Following the suggestions at the last meeting, the Director had consulted with AAPT and it had been agreed that a joint AIP-AAPT Committee on Physics Teaching should be appointed, consisting of the following members:

  • Mark W. Zemansky, Chairman
  • J. W. Buchta
  • George R. Harrison
  • R. Bruce Lindsay
  • George E. Pake
  • Harold K. Schilling

There was some discussion after which the Executive Committee confirmed the establishment of the committee and the members appointed. It is understood that this committee is to operate in an advisory capacity and that neither the Foundation nor the Institute contemplate the expenditure of any funds for the committee’s activities.


8. Applied Mechanics Review

The Director explained that the Institute had been one of the co-sponsors of this publication for some years. A letter had recently been received from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers indicating that the journal was in financial difficulties and requesting that the Institute contribute $1000 to help cover the deficit. The Director explained that the prospects for the journal did not appear too promising and that, in view of the Institute’s own financial problems in publishing, he did not recommend that the requested contribution be made. The Executive Committee concurred with this position.

9. AIP Housing Problems

The Director stated that adequate housing for the Institute’s expanding staff would continue to be a problem until some adequate steps were taken. During the last year some necessary remodeling was done and there was some rearrangement of departments to make better use of space but the Institute still needs more room. The Institute building has now between 6000 and 7000 square feet of useable office space. If Institute activities continue to expand, we will need 10,000 square feet or more within ten years. By various expensive remodeling schemes and additions on the back, we can get a little less than 10,000 square feet in our present building. We might remain in the present building and rent additional space nearby which can be obtained for about $4.50 per square foot per year, or we can sell and buy or build elsewhere.

During the discussion which followed, various possibilities were considered much along the same lines as discussed at previous meetings. It was the consensus that some definite plans should be formulated by the Committee during 1955. It was suggested that, since 1956 is our 25th anniversary year, it would be an excellent time to solicit building funds and it was agreed that a definite program should be worked out. The staff was instructed to continue its investigation of the various possibilities.

At this point the Committee recessed for lunch from 12:30 to 2:35 p.m.

10. Report of Committee on Institute Programs

When the 1955 budget was adopted at the last meeting, it was the consensus that there were various important things which the Institute should be doing for which funds had not been included in the budget and a committee consisting of Messrs. Knowles, Darrow, and Judd had been appointed to review these items and present a recommendation to the Executive Committee.

Mr. Knowles reported that the committee had met twice, had engaged in much discussion with the Institute staff, and submitted an outline of its recommendations (copy attached). Mr. Knowles and members of the Executive Committee discussed these recommendations in detail. The committee members expressed approval of the current policies of PHYSICS TODAY and, only with great reluctance, suggested possible curtailment of the PHYSICS TODAY publishing program if that were the only way which could be found to provide funds for the Information Service recommended.

The Secretary stated that advertising in PHYSICS TODAY had increased greatly during the first three months of 1955, that the Editor of PHYSICS TODAY had been following a policy of decreasing the number of text pages, and that these trends could lead to a lower net deficit for the journal than had been contemplated for 1955 and might present a much more favorable picture in 1956.

Chairman Seitz said there had been much discussion in the past about what the Institute should be willing to bear as a net deficit for PHYSICS TODAY and he was of the opinion that our policy goal should be to reduce this net deficit to approximately one dollar per AIP member, a total deficit between $15,000 and $20,000 per year. The net deficit for 1954 was approximately $30,000.

After prolonged discussion, the following motion was made, seconded, and passed without dissenting vote:

MOVED that the report of the Committee to Investigate Institute Programs be approved and the staff instructed to include $15,000 in the 1956 budget for the program indicated, with the understanding that efforts will be started immediately to find a suitable man and that, if found, he may be employed this year and started on his activities.

11. Increasing Member Society Participation in PHYSICS TODAY

The Director reminded the Committee that the appointment of new members to the Editorial Board of PHYSICS TODAY had been postponed awaiting the report of the Committee to Investigate Institute Programs. He said that Editor Davis had found that outside organizations had shown more interest in using the facilities of PHYSICS TODAY to publicize their activities than had the Member Societies. It was suggested that the Member Societies might make better use of PHYSICS TODAY if the Editorial Board contained members designated by the Member Societies to represent them.

After further discussion, the following motion was made, seconded, and carried without dissenting vote:

MOVED that the Member Societies be apprised of the existing opportunities for using PHYSICS TODAY as a medium for communicating Society news to all physicists and that each Member Society be invited to nominate a representative to the Editorial Board of PHYSICS TODAY and assign to him the responsibility of furnishing Society news to the Editor of PHYSICS TODAY.

In discussing PHYSICS TODAY finances, Editor Davis asked for an expression of opinion on the question of suspending publication of PHYSICS TODAY for two months during the summer. This would probably be satisfactory to academic physicists but might not be appreciated by physicists in industry and government. Furthermore, consideration would have to be given to present commitments to advertisers. It was agreed by the Committee that a decision on this suggestion should be postponed until the next meeting of the Executive Committee.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 4:10 p.m.