APS News

Elbow Room at the APS Editorial Office

Dedication ceremony for the Samuel Goudsmit and Simon Pasternack conference rooms at the APS Editorial Offices, January 15th, 1999. From left to right in foreground: Louise Pasternack-Rafferty, Eric Pasternack, Irene Pasternack, Jonothon Logan (Goudsmit's close associate), Ruth Pasternack, George Trigg, and Pasternack's brother-in-law and his wife, Kenneth and Doris Simon. (Photo by Bob Kelly)
Dedication ceremony for the Samuel Goudsmit and Simon Pasternack conference rooms at the APS Editorial Offices, January 15th, 1999. From left to right in foreground:
Louise Pasternack-Rafferty, Eric and Irene Pasternack, Jonothan Logan (Goudsmit's close associate), Ruth Pasternack, George Trigg, and Pasternack's brother-in-law and his wife, Kenneth and Doris Simon. (Photo by Bob Kelly)

In January, conferences rooms at the newly expanded APS Editorial Offices were named and dedicated to two of Physical Review's most revered editors: Samuel Goudsmit (Managing Editor, 1951-1966; Editor-in-Chief 1967-1975) and Simon Pasternack (Assistant Editor, 1951-1976). Pasternack's wife Ruth, and his children, Irene, Eric, and Louise, were in attendance. Weather did not permit Goudsmit's wife Esther to travel, but the event was videotaped for her. Photographs and memorabilia of the two editors are displayed in the rooms, including Goudsmit's doodled notes which hung in the conference room bearing his name at the old New York APS offices.

There was a time when the APS journal operations were nimble enough to relocate with each change of editor-in-chief (or equivalent thereof), but when Samuel Goudsmit took over in 1951, Physical Review moved for the last time. The APS editorial offices joined Goudsmit at Brookhaven and have remained in the vicinity ever since. In 1979 the journal operations relocated "across the street" from BNL to a permanent home in a modest office building known as the "Ridge Office."

In 1987, the office expanded from 12 thousand to 16.5 thousand square feet, but by 1990 space was tight again.

In 1993 the covenant restricting further expansion of the building was lifted and the need for more space was clear, but a few months later another obstacle arose when the Ridge property was included in the newly established and environmentally sensitive "Pine Barrens" area. Working with an attorney, former Director of Editorial Office Services Cindy Rice was able to negotiate a one-time-only exemption to the ban on building expansion within the Pine Barrens. Since it opened in 1979, the building had been expanded 38%, staff had increased 134%, and manuscripts by 185%. Under the circumstances, it was felt that the maximum expansion should be undertaken, even if the additional space was not finished off or occupied immediately.

When Rice relocated and Reid Terwilliger took over, he continued the planning and permit-obtaining process. In the mean time, journal submissions continued to rise and quarters became so cramped at the Ridge office that in some of the halls it was necessary to turn sideways to pass a colleague. Staff people were seen to disappear under their desks to retrieve files. There was no conference space to speak of, and certainly no room large enough for the whole staff to meet at once. Morale suffered, but productivity did not, much to the staff's credit.

Construction finally got underway in January 1998 (to see a photo of the construction, see APS News, July 1998), nearly ten years after the need to expand was first felt. Half way through construction, the windows in Editor-in-Chief Martin Blume's office were bricked over. "I was uneasy working there with the door closed," Blume says, "I expected to open it and find it too bricked over and myself entombed." Nine short months later the office had doubled in size. In December, the office had a holiday party in the new cafeteria, with plenty of room for the whole staff.



©1995 - 2016, AMERICAN PHYSICAL SOCIETY
APS encourages the redistribution of the materials included in this newspaper provided that attribution to the source is noted and the materials are not truncated or changed.

Editor: Barrett H. Ripin
Associate Editor: Jennifer Ouellette