Treasurer's Report - Fall 2003

Charles E. Robertson
Announcer, Vol. 33, Iss. 3

Putting Your AAPT Dues to Work

I am just about to renew my membership to AAPT and as I sit here looking at the bill, I see that it will be somewhere between $99 and $180, depending on which journals I choose and in what form I would like to receive them. Hmmm, I say to myself, maybe the members would like to know how their dues money is spent. In fact, I would like to know how my membership dues are spread over a variety of projects, programs, and products and what better way for me to learn than by trying to â??teachâ?? you.

If you choose to receive The Physics Teacher only, $37 of your payment will go toward the production of that magazine. An additional $9 is needed if you subscribe to TPT Online. If you choose to receive the American Journal of Physics, $65 will go to the production of that journal. An additional $12 is needed if you would also like AJP Online.

When an article is submitted to either the AJP or TPT, the editor, Jan Tobochnik or Karl Mamola, will start it through a process that puts it on track toward publication. This process includes sending the manuscript to, and getting it back from, referees, when necessary. The approved manuscript is then sent to a publications office for final layout, printing and mailing. Each of these steps requires staff time and, as the old saying goes, time is money. The editors and their staffs receive some salary but the referees do not. Staff in the production area also receive salary. Computers on which the layouts are done need to be purchased and replaced. The companies that print the journals request that they be paid. And then there is the postage. All of these are paid for with the portion of your dues allocated for the journal. But your individual subscriptions are not adequate to pay the entire production costs. Funds from library subscriptions also contribute to these expenses. If you choose to get the electronic version of The Physics Teacher and/or the American Journal of Physics there are costs that pay for the additional time required to transform the articles into an electronic form for web use and to establish the links that make the electronic form so valuable. These efforts are supported by the additional charges that you pay.

In all cases, $62 of your dues is left and this goes into the general fund to support the operation of the association. The AAPT is a society member of the American Institute of Physics (AIP) and, as such, we pay $4.72 per member in dues each year. These dues help support the many educational programs the AIP sponsors such as the awards for outstanding science writing for children and a series of TV spots explaining some contemporary application of physics. These monies also help publish Physics Today and the copy each of us receive monthly. Of course, that subscription is heavily subsidized by AIP as the magazine actually costs closer to $50/year to produce. Several members have told me they would just as soon not receive Physics Today and that is possible. Just send an email to the AAPT Membership Department and ask to have your name removed from the mailing list. However, your dues for membership in AAPT will not be affected and so will not save you any money.

The remaining portion of your dues goes toward the operation of the association. We help fund students participating in the International Physics Olympiad. (I digress to congratulate this yearâ??s team for a truly outstanding performance in Taiwan. Their abilities were awesome. Please read about that competition and the U.S. Physics Team.) We sponsor conferences for department chairs and undergraduate physics education. We host the AAPT website and the Physical Science Resource Center. We hold the summer and winter meetings and in some years the attendance is insufficient to pay all the bills. Each of these programs utilizes some money from the $62. Of course, your dues are not the only income for the association as pointed out in an earlier Tidbits article. These other sources also help with paying the bills mentioned in this and the previous paragraph.

So the next time your renewal notice appears, think of all the good things you receive from your dues, the effect AAPT has on the teaching and learning of physics and of all the people you are helping support.