September 10, 1931

Governing Board of the American Institute of Physics

Minutes of Meeting

The Governing Board met at the call of the Chairman at 4 p.m. September 10, 1931, in Room 153 at the General Electric Research Laboratory, Schenectady, New York.

Present: Chairman K.T. Compton, H.D. Arnold, E.C. Bingham, W.P. Davey, P.D. Foote, A.S. Hunter, F.A. Saunders, J. T. Tate and G.B. Pegram

The minutes of the meeting of May 3, 1931, a copy of which has been sent to each member, were approved and distributed.

Report of Executive Committee.

The Chairman reported that in carrying out the instructions of the Board to select and appoint a full-time executive secretary the committee had considered the qualifications and the availability of numerous men who had been suggested. The choice finally narrowed down to two candidates, Henry A. Barton, Ph.D., Princeton, assistant professor of physics, Cornell University, and A.R. Olpin, Ph.D., Columbia, research physicist, Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc. After a meeting of the Executive Committee on August 5th a mail ballot was taken which resulted in the selection of Mr. Barton.

At the August 5th meeting of the Executive Committee there was discussion with Mr. Buffum, Manager of the Chemical Foundation, as to a budget for the first year which the Chemical Foundation would support. Mr. Buffum preferred not to establish a fixed budget but gave assurance that the Chemical Foundation would give whatever financial support might be needed to do the first year’s work of the Institute efficiently and well.

The salary of the Executive Secretary was arranged to be $7000, with provision for a research assistant. Estimates of other salaries and office and travelling expenses brought the probable budget for the first year to nearly $20,000.

The Executive Committee decided that it would be very advantageous to obtain part-time service from Professor J.T. Tate, as adviser on publications, since questions relating to the publications are of immediate importance. Arrangements have been made with Professor Tate and the University of Minnesota under which, by being relieved of teaching duties (but not other duties) in his university he will be able to devote a portion of his time to the Institute of Physics. This will necessitate his coming frequently to New York. 

The office of the Institute will be opened on October 1, 1931 at 654 Madison Avenue, New York City, and Messrs. Barton and Tate will take office from that date, the present appointments being for one year. 

At this point Mr. Barton was introduced to the Board as the Executive Secretary.

The Board approved the suggestion of the Chairman that a statement be made about the Institute of Physics to the members of the American Physical Society at the dinner that evening.

The Board then went into informal discussion of suggestions for the work of the Institute in which the following subjects were brought forward:

  1. What action should be taken in regard to the association of other societies with the four which have cooperated in the formation of the Institute of Physics, particularly the newly formed American Association of Physics Teachers which will probably be anxious to affiliate with the Institute of Physics; also the American Society of Geophysicists.
  2. What should be the relation of the Institute to such organizations as the Ohio Physics Club, the Physics Club of Pittsburgh, and state and city societies in general.
  3. Is a national publication devoted especially to that purpose needed to assist in bringing about a useful affiliation of physics societies through the Institute. 
  4. The Institute should be able to give help to many organizations by (a) an arrangement under which physics journals could be supplied at club rates, (b) by helping arrange speakers for local meetings.
  5. Would a feasible classification for relations with the Institute be (a) member or cooperating societies have representation on the Governing Board, (b) associated societies or clubs without representation on the Governing Board but with its members perhaps classed as members of the Institute of Physics, (c) affiliated societies not having representation on the Governing Board and not securing for their members membership in the Institute. 
  6. Advantages of a monthly publication like the Physics News of the Ohio Physics Teachers Association at $1 a year; of a publication for high school students like the Chemistry Leaflet.
  7. Lecture tours arranged by the Institute for local physics clubs.

Further discussion was centered on the question of the relation of the Institute of Physics to various societies representing branches of physics, and the proper control of the Institute.

A motion that membership in the American Institute of Physics should be granted to physical societies that may wish to affiliate, preferably those having national scope, upon application of the societies and confirmation by vote of the societies already cooperating in the Institute upon recommendation of the Board by a three-quarter majority was discussed and referred to the Executive Committee.

On motion the Executive Committee was instructed to formulate a constitution and by-laws for the American Institute of Physics for submission to the Board.

On motion the Executive Secretary was requested to attend meetings of the Executive Committee.

The Chairman spoke of the desirability of frequent meetings of the Board and of the necessity of paying travelling expenses of Board members to secure their presence at the meetings. It was agreed that Saturday, November 21st, New York City, would be a suitable time and place for the next meeting.

The Governing Board then adjourned.