Executive Committee of the American Institute of Physics
Minutes of Meeting
1. Convene – Roll Call
The meeting was called to order at 1:00 pm, by Frauenfelder, Chair of the Governing Board.
Hans Frauenfelder, Chair
Peter B. Boyce
Kenneth W. Ford, Executive Director
Roderick M. Grant, Secretary
William W. Havens, Jr.
Shirley A. Jackson
F. Dow Smith
Jerry M. Woodall
Jack M. Wilson
Robert T. Beyer (ASA)
Paul L. Carson (AAPM)
William A. Duax (ACA)
Kurt F. Wissbrun (SOR)
Robert E. Baensch, Director of Publishing
Arthur T. Bent, Treasurer and CFO
Timothy Ingoldsby, Director of Information Technology
John S. Rigden, Director of Physics Programs
Nathalie D. Wagner, Assistant to the Secretary
2. Report of the Secretary
Request for Affiliated Society Status - International Centre for Diffraction Data
Grant presented the information that has been received from Julian Messick, Director of the International Centre for Diffraction Data (ICDD), in support of an application for Affiliated Society status.
Havens said that the information provided did not address some of his questions: he wants to know more about (1) the criteria ICDD uses for membership and election to membership, (2) how ICDD is supported, and (3) why ICDD is interested in becoming an AIP Affiliated Society.
Grant said that he will seek a response to these questions from Messick, and will bring this application before the Executive Committee at the December meeting.
3. Report of the Chair of the Governing Board
Frauenfelder said that this will be a short, but busy meeting; there is much to discuss.
4. Report of the Executive Director
Ford reported that a serious miscommunication or misunderstanding between himself and the MS&B representatives had resulted in the fact that they were not present for the Executive Committee meeting this afternoon; they will be here in the evening for the Governing Board meeting. However, the MS&B report has been received, and it will be distributed for discussion at the proper time during the meeting.
Ford reported that the September visit to the Moscow International Book Fair, and the meetings that he and Baensch had with Soviet publishers and scientists, had gone very well. As a follow-up to the AIP/VAAP conference in July, he found strong support among the Soviets for a journal on Chaos, with U.S./USSR editorial-sponsorship and publication by AIP. So far, however, there has been only lukewarm interest within the U.S. science community.
Jackson asked whether any market surveys have been done to measure interest in this kind of journal. Baensch responded that no surveys have been done as yet, but that it was clearly very important to do some.
Havens stated his opinion that a physics journal on chaos would not fly - there simply aren't enough papers on this subject coming from the physics community. The journal will need to draw papers from a broad, interdisciplinary community if it is to succeed.
5. Physics Programs
Request for Support for AAPT Conference on Physics in Two-Year Colleges
Rigden referred the committee to the 15 June 1989 Letter from Wheeler (AAPT President) to Krumhansl (APS President) and to Rigden in which Wheeler requests financial assistance, amounting to $3,000 each from APS and AIP, for a Conference on Physics in Two-Year Colleges being planned for November. Rigden explained that Wheeler was unable to attend this meeting of the Executive Committee, but he would be present later in the day for the Governing Board meeting.
Havens said he had heard nothing regarding this request from Krumhansl and had not seen it before receipt of this agenda, so APS has not discussed it as yet. He said that the letter has insufficient information to allow action at this time. He indicated that APS could take no action until the APS Council meeting in November.
Rigden said that he believes that the project has merit and is worthy of support. Many people receive their first exposure to physics in two-year colleges, but the role of two-year colleges has not received much attention from the physics community. At the same time, he said that it I important for the Executive Committee to recognize that there is a policy question here; approval of this request could lead to other requests from other societies for funds to support their programs. While AIP is not a funding agency, AAPT made the current appeal after the review of the preliminary proposal by NSF had led to the suggestion that matching support from professional societies be sought.
In response to a question from Wissbrun, Rigden said that he does not know the magnitude of support being requested from NSF.
Grant pointed out that AIP participation in projects such as this usually is predicated on AIP participation in the planning process or on the coordinating committee.
Rigden said that there is no AIP person officially involved, though Sallie Watkins (former AIP Senior Education Fellow) was involved with the draft of the preliminary proposal while she was with AIP. Brian Schwartz (APS Education Officer) is a member of the planning committee. Beverly Porter is a chair of one of the action committees.
Smith suggested we approve support for this conference, subject to assurance of AIP representation on the steering committee. Frauenfelder said that it is difficult to make a decision on such short notice and with incomplete information in hand, particularly as this involves a matter of standing policy concerning AIP involvement in Member Society programs.
The consensus was that the Executive Committee should respond to Wheeler's letter through contact with him at the Governing Board meeting, and emphasize that, though we appreciate the value of the project, the request had been presented late to the Executive Committee and lacked sufficient information on which to base a decision. Smith added that he feels that, as a general rule, AIP should be involved in supporting this type of conference in the future.
Proposals from Physics Programs Branch
Proposal: Introductory University Physics Project (IUPP)
Rigden distributed a Summary statement, and an explanation of the proposed budget (total cost: $2,338,580) for a proposal to fund Phase III of the IUPP project. The project has been underway for two years; the current proposal would provide support for the development of specific curricular models and for testing of these models in the classroom. This would be done through universities that have volunteered. A conference in November in Denver will review the models which have been under development; some will be eliminated at this time. The plan is to establish six test centers in the first year, 1990-91, and twelve test centers in 1991-92.
Havens said he was disturbed that we have just been handed this, and are being asked to act immediately. He has seen no reports on Phases I & II and no summary of conclusions reached to date. There has not been a recommendation from the IUPP Steering Committee. To his knowledge, it hasn't gone to nor been approved by the AIP Committee on Physics Education. He is not prepared to take any action since these required steps haven't been followed. If any action is desired on a major proposal, the Executive Committee has to have information in reasonable time prior to the meeting.
Grant said that discussion at previous Executive Committee meetings led to the establishment of procedures for the approval of grant proposals. Such approval is needed if significant new costs are being incurred or there are new thrusts. We need information on new enterprises, but this is a continuing project. He said that this doesn't appear to differ from the present project either in terms of the commitment of staff time nor of AIP resources. The Executive Committee does not act as a reviewing agency. This proposal is subject to review by the IUPP Steering Committee and then by NSF reviewers. He pointed out that the minutes show that we have had reports from Rigden at every Executive Committee meeting, and that these have included statements that a proposal for Phase m was being prepared for submission to NSF.
Havens said that the total budget here is $2,338,580. He obtained information about the project proposal from AAPT and APS (Franz and Merzbacher) but none from AIP. He has been bitten in the past by continuing programs. We have to review them if there are extensions of commitments, implied or stated, especially when they are of this magnitude. He resents the fact that we’re supposed to make a decision with information passed out only during the meeting at which approval is requested. If AIP wishes to apply for a grant, it is up to AIP to handle the proposal submission properly.
Smith asked for clarification of guidelines concerning grant proposals (he was given a copy of the guidelines). Havens said that apparently they are subject to interpretation; his interpretation is that we are given information, including statements that procedures have been followed and approvals obtained, in advance of the meeting on proposals of this size. This seems to be different from Rigden's or Grant's interpretation.
Ford said that one of Havens' concerns appears to be whether this proposal implies a commitment of AIP time and funds; almost all of the money is being spent outside AIP, with a small amount for released time for AIP personnel.
Havens asked, why then is AIP involved if the money is being spent by other organizations?
Ford replied that AIP's role is to attempt to provide science education leadership and to provide oversight and vision for the project.
Smith said that we keep looking for ways to fund additional educational projects; in this case the funds are coming from NSF. Two of the guidelines call for approval by the Executive Committee: grant proposals over $200K or matching funds or projects of a controversial nature. The guidelines also require internal routing with approvals; have these procedures been followed?
Rigden said they had not been; the proposal draft was just completed. The timing of these meetings was such that he brought the proposal here first. It is just now ready to go to AIP management, and is expected at NSF in mid-October.
Jackson asked if the bottom line was that one is more likely to get favorable treatment by NSF if it is submitted by a certain date?
Rigden replied that continuity is needed as a number of people are involved with this project. Planning during the summer of 1990 is essential in order to have these models ready for testing at six universities in the fall of 1990. H the proposal is to make it through the NSF review procedures, he is told that a mid-October submission should allow for a mid-April approval.
Frauenfelder said there are two separate problems: 1) the value of the project and 2) the procedures we must use to gain AIP approvals. One problem we are facing now is that we haven't gone through the process of using our proposal submission guidelines since we adopted them. He agrees that the Executive Committee is not a review committee evaluating the quality of the proposal, but we must follow procedures we have established or change them.
The following motion was made by Smith and seconded by Boyce. Following extensive discussion, reported below, the motion and second were WITHDRAWN.
MOVED that we approve submission of this proposal, subject to the AIP formal review and approval by the management committee to see that it meets requirements of management and is reported to the Executive Committee.
Havens said he would vote against this motion. If they had wanted to get it to the Executive Committee, there was sufficient time. In addition, 1) he is not in favor of the Executive Committee's approving it in advance of its review by management, and 2) he has obtained information that suggests the proposal may not be appropriate as it stands. We have set up procedures for these things and they should be followed.
Woodall agreed with Frauenfelder that there are two elements. Recently the Executive Committee has been asked to work in a response mode, signing blank checks, such as for this proposal or for FAMIS expenditures, without advance information. We need to take a stand that management must follow established procedures. This proposal may be a good thing, but AIP is running a business and has to act in a businesslike way.
Ford asked Rigden to what extent has this been reviewed by APS and AAPT. Rigden said that Schwartz (a member of the IUPP Steering Committee) has had the preliminary proposal for some time. He wrote to the presidents of AAPT and APS regarding Phase ill. He has had a response from AAPT, but none from APS.
Havens said it has not been reviewed officially by APS, and cannot be reviewed until the 11 November meeting of the APS Executive Committee.
Frauenfelder reiterated that what is needed is a recommendation from the IUPP steering committee, approvals from APS and AAPT (since the project involves joint sponsorship with AIP}, followed by a management committee review of the budget.
Smith then withdrew his original motion (the second was withdrawn by Boyce) and made the following substitute motion, which was seconded by Boyce, and following discussion, was CARRIED with one NO and one ABSTENTION:
MOVED that the AIP management committee be requested to review the proposal to ensure that guidelines for submission of grants and contracts are followed and to make a recommendation to the Executive Committee for a phone ballot, after approval by the IUPP Steering Committee.
Frauenfelder stated that as a general rule, any substantive item that is presented comes to the Executive Committee on the day of a meeting cannot be voted on the same day unless it involves an extraordinary matter. We should not have emergencies.
Grant said that he is concerned about phone ballots between meetings and the attendant need to provide committee member with adequate written background information. He agrees that it is not reasonable to ask for approval in this manner. If someone has something in the works, it helps to bring it to the Executive Committee for discussion, prior to material being sent for action. The problem with a phone ballot is that there is not an opportunity for group discussion. He noted the rule passed at the September 1989 meeting which states that one NO vote defeats a phone ballot. (An abstention does not defeat a phone ballot.)
Proposal: Physics from a Personal Perspective
Rigden then addressed the proposal, Physics from a Personal Perspective, which had been drafted by Kirwan. The purpose of the project is to develop a text to accompany a high school course being designed to reach all students and to foster an understanding of the basic concepts of physics through an awareness of the role physics plays in everyday lives. Material outlining the project, a Preliminary Proposal, and a 25 September 1989 letter from Kirwan to the NSF Program Director of Instructional Materials Development was distributed. The deadline for submission of the completed proposal is 15 November if work is to begin during the summer of 1990.
Kirwan said he has been asked to serve as co-project director with Brian Schwartz (APS) and Jack Wilson (AAPT). He requests that, subject to approval of the APS and AAPT Boards, AIP approve submission of the proposal to NSF by the 15 November deadline.
Havens said that he was aware that Schwartz has been working on the project, but it has not been discussed within APS. This is the first time he has seen any descriptive material. He has the same objection as voiced on the previous proposal regarding the timing of the distribution of the material and of the request for authorization to submit the proposal to NSF.
Grant suggested that, since the proposal has had no internal review or recommendation, we should proceed as we did with the IUPP proposal. The following motion was made by Jackson, was seconded by Woodall, and following further discussion, was CARRIED with one ABSTENTION.
MOVED that AIP management be requested to review the proposal entitled “Physics from a Personal Perspective” being prepared by D. Kirwan (AIP), B Schwartz (APS) and J. Wilson (AAPT) for submission to NSF, to assure that the Guidelines for Submission of Grants and Contracts are followed if the proposal is submitted by AIP, and to recommend action by the Executive Committee via a telephone ballot, if necessary, at the proper time.
Smith asked if there was any commitment by AIP if this project is cancelled at some point. Kirwan replied that if the production of the book were already in process there would have to be a decision by AIP as to whether to continue support. AIP will be involved with the publishing; Baensch has a copy of the proposal for study. Baensch said it would be handled in the same way as any other book project.
Clarification of Motion re: Increase in Quality and Quantity of Science Education
Jackson reminded the Executive Committee that this motion was approved as a recommendation to the Governing Board in September, and that she and Wilson were asked to develop a more specific statement for consideration. Grant said he had spoken to Wilson, who had sent a revised motion to Jackson which she has just received. Grant said he would duplicate the motion and will have copies distributed later in the meeting, and at the Governing Board meeting.
6. Financial Matters
Financial Statements for Six Months Ended 30 June 1989
Bent presented the financial statements of the Institute for the six months period ended 30 June 1989, and a summary of the performance of long term investments through 31 August 1989. These are attached as Appendix A to these minutes.
Bent commented that the financial statements indicate an improvement of $1,039,000 in Net Revenue over the equivalent figures from 30 June 1988. This increase is largely attributable to improvements in Publishing operations ($506,000), in Investment income ($195,000), and to the fact that there was there had been a writeoff for AZTECH in 1988 ($144,000). The improvement in Publishing operations is attributable to an increase in subscription income (higher rates) and to revenue from Soviet journal operations.
Meeting of Audit Committee
Beyer represented Clark, Chair of the Audit Committee, who could not be present. He briefly reviewed the letter and recommendations from Touche Ross which would be presented for discussion and approval at the upcoming meeting of the Governing Board.
Resolution Regarding Account with Oppenheimer
Bent said that our investment manager, Laub Martin Inc., uses the brokerage firm of Oppenheimer & Co. to handle security trades on behalf of AIP. He requested authorization to establish separate accounts with Oppenheimer for three funds with which we have investments.
The following motion was made by Havens, was seconded by Boyce, and was unanimously CARRIED.
MOVED that management be authorized to establish separate accounts with the brokerage firm Oppenheimer & Co., Inc. for each of the following three AIP investment funds: Fiduciary Management, Minis & Co., and Laub Martin, Inc.
7. Information Technology: Report of the Director
Ingoldsby gave a status report on the development of the FAMIS system. He said that the programming is 98% complete, though some parts still require testing. He is awaiting approvals on forms from Societies, but expects renewal billing and order processing to be on schedule with past years. The interface to the APS member record system is operational. Finally, he expects cash processing, which is in the testing phase, to be in parallel test with the Univac in late October.
He said that a request has been made to ORACLE for compensation for the roughly $300,000 in extra expenses that AIP has incurred during the development of this system as a result of the problems experienced in the match between the ORACLE software and WANG hardware. He expects that he will have a positive response to the request, but the nature of the compensation is as yet unclear. It may involve a waiver of license fees for use of the software.
Ingoldsby then presented an overview of the Information Technology Branch, and its three divisions: Production Systems, Systems Development, and Member and Subscriber Services. He also outlined the many and varied uses of technology throughout AIP.
Finally, Ingoldsby informed the Executive Committee that it would soon be time to mount a major new effort to rewrite the accounting/financial system software which currently runs on the Data General computer. The computer is now six years old, and we must begin to plan for its replacement. He expects to bring to the Executive Committee within the next year a development plan for his branch which will include this as one of their projects.
Ford asked Ingoldsby to comment on the lessons that he had learned from the problems experienced with the FAMIS development project. Ingoldsby replied that he fully accepted responsibility for fact that he (1) had underestimated the time required to complete the system, and (2) did not take sufficient time to validate the compatibility of the hardware (WANG) and software (ORACLE) prior to making the decision to purchase that combination. He stated that, in retrospect, the match was poor and he would not go this way now.
8. Space and Location Issues: Moran, Stahl & Boyer Report
Bent distributed copies of the MS&B report to the Executive Committee. MS&B representatives will bring copies for the Governing Board when they arrive this evening. Executive Committee members spent a few minutes browsing through the report, asking questions on some of the assumptions which had been used by MS&B (but representatives of the latter were not present to answer).
Smith asked, what is the goal with that we wish to attain this report?
Frauenfelder replied that he is seeking an agreement at the Governing Board that it will be studied by the Member Societies, who will be asked to report back by March 1990. Grant added that this means that Societies should respond to the questionnaire by 1 February so the data can be assimilated and a recommendation formulated by the Executive Committee at its February meeting.
Havens said that APS had decided to look independently at their location needs. He distributed copies of a report, done by Williams & Co., which summarizes selected real estate transactions consummated in NYC in the last two years. A budgeted relocation cost of $200/sq. ft. typically would include a land and building acquisition cost of $140/sq. ft. and an upgrade cost of $60/sq.ft. APS also met with a representative from a NYC office which provides incentives for businesses to remain in NY. From this office they have received a report on AA, which is primarily a publishing operation. The results of this study (done by Fantus & Co.) led to their decision to remain in NY.
Havens said that they have also learned that real estate transactions in NY are complicated because of the ramifications of the transfer tax. This often makes long term lease arrangements more attractive than purchase.
In response to a comment from Ford, Havens acknowledged that the Williams & Co. report shows only what the buyer paid, not the subsequent investment in the building. However, he stated, prices even with facility upgrading included were surprising to him; they have decreased from 1988 to 1989. He found that the selling price was about 1/2 of the asking price. For the past several months he has been getting a printout of available properties, from the City of New York; the asking price doesn't change.
Frauenfelder asked that the committee focus on what should we try to achieve at the Governing Board meeting. We have to give some guidance to the Societies. What is the best way to proceed?
Wissbrun commented that the interpretation of this document won't be straightforward without further explanation and guidance.
Walt commented that this presentation is presumably the MSB viewpoint. Is there also a document that gives the basis of calculations behind their conclusions?
Bent replied that he has received two copies each of the two supporting volumes: Employee Action Estimates and Supporting Statistics. These could be duplicated and one copy of each forwarded to each of the Member Societies.
Frauenfelder said that he is not in favor of a committee to analyze the report prior to communicating with the societies, but we should have a letter with clear questions to focus their responses.
Smith agreed that the big problem was how best to communicate with the societies; there has been a problem with imprecise communication on both sides.
There are three options set forth; (1) the base case - consolidation in NY, publishing consolidated on LI, and small operations elsewhere; (2) small operations in NY and Washington with consolidation of other activities in Baltimore, and (3) Philadelphia. What happens if societies come back and say none of the above?
Woodall asked which Societies would they be? The NY-based Societies have already made up their minds that they want to stay in NY and will accept only the base case (1). Havens agreed: APS has stated that it prefers to remain in NY. If they can't rent space from AIP in NY, they will find their own space to purchase or lease on a long term basis.
Smith asked if this means that if APS acquired property or long-term rental, they would rent some space to other resident Societies or AIP? Havens replied that they would be willing to rent space to smaller Societies. He said that rental or a joint purchase arrangement with AIP is also a possibility. This would have to be developed in a site-specific area.
Frauenfelder noted that the Baltimore option involves an obligation to include on the first floor a science exhibit space. Ford confirmed that with the harbor site, there would have to be a commitment on the part of AIP to play a public educational role. This implies perhaps a whole floor given over to public activities, perhaps a hands-on museum. Choosing the Baltimore option would involve more than a decision based on financials; it is based in part on the way AIP, and whatever Member Societies choose to join, would see its/their role in expanded public education activities; it would provide for a very visible presence for physics at that site.
Havens asked who would pay for staff, maintenance, and operating costs for such an operation, and were these included in the MS&B financial analysis?
Ford said that he assumes that AIP and/or Member Societies would bear the cost. We would have to define our own priorities within the physics program area to say that this is an area we want to emphasize and in which we want to spend more money. He said that he did not believe that estimates of the associated costs were included in the report.
Woodall asked whether MS&B analyzed the payback time if APS and AVS decide to go to different publishing houses as a result of an AIP move.
Ford said that this was not part of the assumptions of the study, so was not in the report.
Woodall asked that a lot of time and care be devoted to formulating questions to poll the Societies on what they would do. We need to find out what the Societies would do, depending on which scenario is adopted. It is better to ask enough questions so we can make good business decisions based on the answers.
Smith agreed with Carson that it will be important for the resident Member Societies to have some indication how a move to rental property in New York (away from 335 East 45th Street) would affect their operating costs.
Woodall said that AVS can survive a 20%, but not a 100%, increase. The AVS model is that if AIP moves away, it would first consider joining with APS. If that doesn't work out, it would go its own way by relocating to a nearby area in NYC. Woodall reiterated that the AVS Board has stated in its minutes that they are very upset over AIP activities over the last few years. The AVS point of view is that if everyone stays in NY, there are no further questions.
Havens said that no matter what happens, he doesn't see us staying at 335 East 45th Street very much longer. The most likely site for an economic relocation appears to be in the area near NYU.
Woodall said that the Societies will have to decide if they believe the numbers given in the report. His experience with IBM is that projections don't always hold up. You can't use payback time as a basis, as the data and situation can change; the bottom line is that you have to decide where you want to do business and locate there.
9. Executive Session
Staff was excused from the meeting at 5:00 pm so that the Executive Committee could meet in executive session. This is reported in the official minutes only.
The meeting adjourned at 5:15 pm.