March 25, 1948

Governing Board of the American Institute of Physics

Minutes of Meeting

1. The Governing Board met at the Institute Building, 57 East 55th Street, New York at 10 A.M.

Present: George R. Harrison (Chairman), Robert B. Brode, A. J. Dempster, W. F. Fair, Jr., Harvey Fletcher, R. C. Gibbs, W. V. Houston, Paul E. Klopsteg, F. W. Loomis, Philip M. Morse, George B. Pegram, John T. Tate, Wallace Waterfall, M. W. White, A. G. Worthing.

Absent: Luis W. Alvarez, E. U. Condon, A. H. Pfund.

Guests Present:


  • G.P. Harnwell, Editor, The Review of Scientific Instruments
  • Elmer Hutchisson, Editor, Journal of Applied Physics
  • J. E. Mayer, Editor, Journal of Chemical Physics

AIP Administrator Staff

  • Henry A. Barton, Director
  • Cleveland Norcross, Assistant Director
  • T. Vorburger, Assistant Treasurer
  • Ruth Bryans, Publication Manager
  • David A. Katcher, Editor, Physics Today

2. Report of Annual Meeting of the Corporation:

The Secretary reported the elections to membership on the Governing Board at the Annual Meeting of the Corporation on February 28, 1948 as follows:

On nomination of  
American Physical Society W. V. Houston to succeed G. R. Harrison – term to 1951
Optical Society of America G. R. Harrison to succeed K. S. Gibson – term to 1951
Acoustical Society of America Philip M. Morse to succeed F. A. Firestone – term to 1951
Society of Rheology W. F. Fair, Jr. to succeed himself – term to 1950
American Association of Physics Teachers Paul E. Klopsteg to succeed himself – term to 1951

On election of all individual members of the Institute as provided in the By-Laws:

  • Robert B. Brode – term to 1949
  • Luis W. Alvarez – term to 1950
  • F. W. Loomis – term to 1951

The full membership of the Governing Board until the 1949 Annual Meeting of the Corporation is:


Nominated by   Term Expires
American Physical Society A. J. Dempster 1949
G. B. Pegram 1949
J. T. Tate 1950
E. U. Condon 1950
W. V. Houston 1951
Optical Society of America A. H. Pfund 1949
A. G. Worthing 1950
G. R. Harrison 1951
Acoustical Society of America Wallace Waterfall 1949
Harvey Fletcher 1950
Philip M. Morse 1951
Society of Rheology W. F. Fair, Jr. 1950
American Association of Physics Teachers R. C. Gibbs 1949
M. W. White 1950
P. E. Klopsteg 1951
Members-at-Large Robert B. Brode 1949
Luis W. Alvarez 1950
F. W. Loomis 1951

3. Minutes:

On motion, the minutes of the Governing Board meeting of March 25, 1947 were approved as distributed. The Secretary was instructed to send copies of those minutes to the new members of the Board.

4. Report of the Chairman:

The Chairman reported that the Executive Committee had been meeting every two months and had been particularly active during the past year. He indicated that the Executive Committee had tried to handle all problems for which it had authority and proposed to bring before the Board those mattes of broad policy on which the Committee needs advice. The minutes of all meetings of the Executive Committee have been and will continue to be sent to all Board members for their information. The Chairman invited questions or comments regarding actions taken by the Committee.

The following motion was made, seconded, and unanimously carried:

MOVED that the Executive Committee be commended for its activity and for the actions taken.

5. Report of the Secretary:

The Secretary offered no report other than that already circulated.

6. Report of the Treasurer:

The Treasurer distributed to each member of the Board a copy of the Assistant Treasurer’s Report, (copy attached to official minutes), and commented briefly on its contents. The Treasurer also reported that the Auditor’s Report for the year ended December 31, 1947 by Pasley and Conroy had been mailed to the Secretary of each Member Society and he presented a copy for examination by members of the Board.

7. Report of the Director:

The Report of the Director was distributed to the members of the Board and Mr. Barton commented briefly on each subject covered in the report. He emphasized the growing demand for services in the field of physics and indicated the ability to meet this demand is largely dependent on funds available. He pointed out that he was offering this as a statement of difficulty and was not suggesting a solution.

Mr. Barton reported briefly on the activities of the new Assistant Director, Mr. Cleveland Norcross, whose employment will, it is hoped, set free some of the Director’s time to serve on committees and otherwise to represent physics in matters of national scope in which physics is either concerned or has an acknowledged obligation to assist.

Mr. Barton pointed out that there had been several occasions to state the date on which the Institute was founded. He reviewed the various dates connected with the organizational activities of the Institute and indicated that May 3, 1931 was the date of the first Governing Board meeting attended by authorized representatives of the several societies. Accordingly, the following motion was made, seconded, and unanimously carried:

MOVED that May 3, 1931 be adopted as the date of the founding of the American Institute of Physics.

8. Actions Recommended by the Executive Committee:

  1. On recommendation of the Executive Committee, the following motion was made, seconded, and unanimously carried:

    MOVED that the Physics Club of Lehigh Valley be elected an Affiliated Society of the Institute.

    In connection with the above action, a question was raised as to what benefits Affiliated Societies receive from the Institute and it was suggested that representatives of the Affiliated Societies might be brought together for discussion of their common problems.

  2. Revision of Rules:

    The Secretary reported that, on recommendation of its Committee on Revision of Rules, the Executive Committee had voted to recommend to the Governing Board certain revisions of the Rules. These revisions were circulated to Board Members and explained by the Secretary. The following motion was made, seconded, and unanimously carried (15 affirmative votes):

    MOVED that Articles III, IV, V, VI, and XI of the Rules be revised in accordance with the recommendations. (Copy attached to official minutes)

9. Report of Editors of Institute Journals:

  1. The Review of Scientific Instruments. Mr. Harnwell reported that some of the material formerly carried in RSI would now be transferred to Physics Today. He indicated that his page budget had been cut from 1000 pages in 1947 to 900 pages in 1948 and that this was considered necessary because the income from subscriptions was not enough to support the Review. Mr. Harnwell also reported a discussion with Mr. R. Rimbach, publisher of Instruments, on the subject of RSI circulation and advertising. Mr. Rimbach’s comments were as follows:

    1. RSI should have twice its present circulation.
    2. Advertising rates are too low.
    3. Advertising is not particularly useful to subscribers because it is not complete enough in its coverage of instruments.
    4. RSI should have representatives over the country to obtain advertising.Journal of Applied Physics. Mr. Hutchisson distributed and read a detailed report on JAP which contained six recommendations to the Board. A copy of his report is attached to the official copy of these minutes.
  2. Journal of Chemical Physics. Mr. Mayer reported that he was displeased with the Executive Committee’s decision to limit his page budget to 1000 pages, the same as last year, since JCP was not operating at a loss.

  3. Chairman Harrison explained that in order to bring the 1948 budget more nearly into balance, the Executive Committee felt that it was necessary to give very careful consideration to the page budgets of all Institute journals. He further explained that the Executive Committee realized that it should be the responsibility of the Institute to publish all articles worthy of publication but that with present mounting costs for printing and other operations, the Institute could not take this risk. Before the Executive Committee cut the budget it showed a deficit of $21,000 and the Committee was able to lower this deficit to $6400 only by cutting page budgets as well as other items. The Executive Committee would welcome suggestions from the Board as to how the Institute can meet its responsibilities and at the same time balance its budget.

    After considerable discussion regarding the reports of the three editors and  of possible sources of additional income, the following motion was made, seconded, and unanimously carried:

    MOVED that the Chairman appoint an ad hoc committee of three members under the chairmanship of the Adviser on Publications, to study the problems presented in the reports of the editors of RSI, JAP, and JCP and recommend action to the Executive Committee.

    Chairman Harrison appointed Messrs. Klopsteg and Loomis to work with Mr. Tate, Adviser on Publications.

  4. Physics Today. Mr. Katcher reviewed briefly the reasons for the decision to publish a new journal and the type of journal it was to be. As a result of the advice of many people whose comments were solicited, it was finally decided that the magazine would be divided into two parts. The first part will be devoted to discussion of problems and general articles in the field of physics and the second part to news items. Mr. Katcher expressed his hope that Physics Today would not become too specialized. He indicated that he would welcome comments from the Board after they had seen the first issue which is due May 3, 1948.

10. Committee on Resolution re Past Chairman:

Mr. Pegram read the following resolution which had been prepared by his committee and the resolution was unanimously adopted.

WHEREAS Paul E. Klopsteg has rendered outstanding service to the American Institute of Physics, and to its objectives of the advancement and diffusion of the knowledge of physics, by many acts and services for which he has found time in spite of heavy demands upon him to contribute otherwise to national defense, industrial  progress and the development of technological education; and, whereas he has rendered faithful and highly constructive service on the Executive Committee and the Policy Committee of the Institute and on its Governing Board; and, whereas as Chairman of the Governing Board through the changing scene from 1940 to 1947, he has constantly and generously given the Institute both wise guidance and stimulating leadership:


That the Governing Board places on record this acknowledgment by the American Institute of Physics of indebtedness to Paul E. Klopsteg for his distinguished services and orders a copy of this Minute inscribed and delivered to him.

Mr. Klopsteg expressed his appreciation of the action but felt that he had done no more than previous chairmen who had laid the foundations for work that was carried on during his term as chairman. Accordingly, the following motion was made, seconded, and unanimously carried:

MOVED that the appropriate resolutions be prepared by the same committee for previous chairmen.

(The meeting adjourned for luncheon at 12 Noon and reconvened at 1:40 P.M.)

11. Report of the Nominating Committee:

Mr. Klopsteg, Chairman of the Nominating Committee, of which the other members were Messrs. Tate and White, reported the following nominations of officers for 1948:

Chairman George R. Harrison
Secretary Wallace Waterfall
Treasurer George B. Pegram
Assistant Treasurer Theodore Vorburger
Adviser on Publications John T. Tate
Director Henry A. Barton
Assistant Director Cleveland Nocross

No other nominations were received and it was voted and carried unanimously that the Secretary be asked to cast a single ballot for the election of these nominees to the offices indicated.

The Secretary reported that the ballot had been cast.

Since there is some ambiguity about the terms of office of the appointees, the following motion was made, seconded, and unanimously carried:

MOVED that the Executive Committee study the question of terms of office of appointees and check the legalities involved.

12. Appointment of Committees:

The following Executive Committee was recommended by the Chairman and unanimously approved by the Board:

  • George R. Harrison (Chairman)
  • Wallace Waterfall
  • George B. Pegram
  • E. U. Condon
  • Paul E. Klopsteg

It was understood that the Executive Committee will take such action as is necessary regarding appointment of the following committees:

  • Publications Board
  • Finance Committee
  • Nominating Committee for Directors-at-Large
  • Tellers for Election of Directors-at-Large
  • Election of Associate Members
  • Trustee for Pensions Plan
  • Members of Pension Committee
  • Committee on Biophysics
  • Committee on Abstracts
  • AIP Committee for the I.S. A. Exhibition

13. Financing Research Journals:

It was pointed out that the publications are running way behind the number of pages that should be printed but that subscription rates and dues cannot be raised enough to cover the cost of printing all worthy material. The Director indicated that one solution of this problem would be to encourage the idea that, when money anywhere is appropriated for research, a certain amount of it should be allocated to publication. The present per page charge to authors is only $4.00. It was his feeling that the part of publication cost prior to actual printing, amounting to about $12 per page, should be paid out of the per page charge, and that the other part, distribution, should be paid for out of income from subscriptions. Mr. Barton reported that he had talked to appropriate people such as Vannevar Bush, Alan T. Waterman of ONR, and J. B. Fisk of Atomic Energy Commission, regarding publication of research and that they were all sympathetic to this viewpoint.

Some Board Members doubted the wisdom of greatly increasing the per page charge. Commercial publishers make no such charge and it was suggested that, instead of concentrating on any one source of income, subscription and advertising rates, society dues, and other sources of income might be raised. No action was taken but these points were left for consideration of the committee appointed under Item 9 of these minutes.

14. Accreditation or Alternatives:

Mr. Gibbs, on behalf of the Policy Committee, reported a study the Committee had made of the problem of accrediting physics departments. The experience of the chemists in such a project has proved to be expensive in time and money and, after several years of operation, much less than completely satisfactory. Some alternative such as the classification of individual physicists should be studied. The National Research Council, the U.S. Civil Service Commission, and Educational Test Services, Inc. would probably be interested in cooperating with the Institute in such an undertaking. He suggested that a report be published in Physics Today to get the reaction of physicists to such a plan. After considerable discussion, the following motions were made, seconded, and carried:

MOVED that no action be taken on accreditation of colleges.

MOVED that the Institute is interested in the problem of the classification of physicists and that the Chairman appoint a committee of three or more to study the matter further.

The first motion was carried unanimously; there were three negative votes on the second motion.

15. College and University Sections of AIP:

Mr. White pointed out to the Board that physics students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels feel a need for affiliation with some professional group, particularly when they realize that their contemporaries in chemistry and engineering are joining such groups. Sigma Pi Sigma has only partially fulfilled this need and Mr. White felt that some affiliation of Sigma Pi Sigma with the Institute would be effective. There was considerable discussion as to how much initiative the Institute should take in the organization of these local groups and whether some form of affiliation of Sigma Pi Sigma with the Institute would be advantageous. Mr. Barton suggested that the Institute invite SPS to join with it in appointing a committee to work out a plan for adequate service to local groups consisting primarily of students. As a result of the discussion, the following motion was made, seconded, and unanimously carried:

MOVED that an invitation be extended to Sigma Pi Sigma, and if accepted, the Chairman appoint a committee to work with a committee of Sigma Pi Sigma in order to form a proposed plan for local groups which will be submitted later to the Executive Committee of the Institute.

16. Cooperation with National and International Agencies:

The Chairman reviewed briefly the history of the Policy Committee of the Institute and pointed out that its functions were now being largely handled by the Executive Committee. Further, it is difficult to appoint a Policy Committee now whose members can meet often and have time to devote to such matters. It is the recommendation of the Executive Committee that Mr. Gibbs be appointed as a special adviser to the Executive Committee and that the Policy Committee be allowed to lapse. There was no objection to this recommendation.

The Chairman reported on Mr. Bronk’s visit with the Executive Committee. Mr. Bronk, Chairman of the National Research Council, had recommended close cooperation between the NRC and the Institute and had offered to house a Washington office of the Institute in the NRC Building. The following motion was made, seconded, and unanimously carried:

MOVED that the Institute accept in principle Mr. Bronk’s offer of space for the Institute at the National Research Council and that the Executive Committee be empowered to work out the details.

It was also pointed out that such agencies as the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics, UNESCO, and the War Department are anxious to cooperate with the Institute in various ways. The following motion was made, seconded, and carried:

MOVED that the Board go on record as favoring cooperation with such agencies as the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics, UNESCO, and the War Department and that it be left to the Executive Committee to work out such cooperation as is desirable.

17. Adjournment:

The meeting adjourned at 5 P.M.