History of AAPT — Meetings
The pattern of AAPT meetings evolved gradually. The APS usually met in conjunction with AAAS in the interval between Christmas and New Year’s Day, holding joint sessions with AAAS Section B (Physics). As we have seen, it was at one such meeting in 1930 that AAPT was organized. The early meetings of AAPT followed the same pattern: the annual meetings were held with both APS and AAAS from 1931 through 1939, then jointly with APS. Beginning with 1943, the annual meeting was shifted to January; thus there was no annual meeting during the calendar year 1942. (Similarly, the 17th annual meeting of APS-AAPT was held in Chicago from December 29-31, 1947, so in 1948 there was also no major meeting.)
The summer meetings were also joint. Just as in the first year (1931), AAPT sessions were often included at the APS Washington meetings in April, but the first summer meeting of AAPT was held in June 1937, at the
In accepting invitations to hold summer meetings, the Executive Board would set up a committee of conveniently located members to plan sessions. The programs were reported in the journal, but not enough officers were always involved to hold formal Executive Committee meetings. Several summer meetings in the east were held jointly with the Society for the Promotion of Engineering Education (SPEE, which in 1947 became the American Society for Engineering Education, ASEE).
The first official summer meeting sponsored by AAPT alone was held in
There was a problem of conflicting dates when APS and AAPT meetings were arranged independently, and a solution was proposed in 1956 when the secretary of AAPT was instructed by the AAPT Council to inform the secretary of APS that “AAPT will, beginning in 1958, plan to have its summer meeting in the fourth week of June, except when special circumstances, such as a joint meeting with APS or ASEE, make this undesirable.” The 1961 meeting at Stanford extended through July 1, and meetings tended to alternate between the third and fourth weeks of June. The plan to hold consecutive meetings in widely different parts of the country so as better to accommodate regional members dates back to the meeting in
In 1989 The American Physical Society decided to withdraw from the Joint Winter Meeting that had existed for more than three decades. AAPT was invited to be a joint participant in the APS April meeting. After considerable discussion, the Executive Board agreed to such participation on a trial basis for a limited period. The first joint meeting was held in
Even without APS participation, the January Winter Meetings have continued to attract large attendance. Workshops, which occur during the two days immediately preceding the formal meeting, have grown in number and in member participation. Attendance at Summer Meetings has also grown to such an extent that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find colleges and/or universities that have adequate facilities to accommodate the many concurrent sessions and the increasing number of workshops. In the early 1990s it became necessary to limit the number of workshops offered for lack of facilities to accommodate them.