Balthasar van der Pol

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Balthasar van der Pol
Van der Pol 2.jpeg
Born (1889-01-27)27 January 1889
Died 6 October 1959(1959-10-06) (aged 70)
Nationality Dutch
Alma mater Utrecht University
Known for Van der Pol oscillator
Scientific career
Fields Physics
Thesis De invloed van een geioniseerd gas op het voortschrijden van electromagnetische golven en toepassingen daarvan op het gebied der draadlooze telegraphie en bij metingen van glimlichtontladingen [The effect of an ionised gas on electro-magnetic wave propagation and its application to radio, as demonstrated by glow-discharge measurement(1920)
Doctoral advisor Willem Henri Julius

Balthasar van der Pol (27 January 1889 – 6 October 1959) was a Dutch physicist.

Van der Pol studied physics in Utrecht, and in 1920 he was awarded his doctorate (PhD). He studied experimental physics with John Ambrose Fleming and Sir J. J. Thomson in England. He joined Philips Research Labs in 1921, where he worked until his retirement in 1949.

His main interests were in radio wave propagation, theory of electrical circuits, and mathematical physics. The Van der Pol oscillator, one of the most widely used models of nonlinear self-oscillation, is named after him.

He was awarded the Institute of Radio Engineers (now the IEEE) Medal of Honor in 1935. The asteroid 10443 van der Pol was named after him.

Van der Pol became member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1949.[1]


  1. ^ "Balthasar van der Pol (1889 - 1959)". Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 3 August 2015. 


  • Balth. van der Pol & J van der Mark (1928): The Heartbeat considered as a Relaxation oscillation, and an Electrical Model of the Heart. Phil. Mag. Suppl. No. 6 pp 763–775
  • Van der Pol & Bremmer: Operational Calculus. Cambridge 1964
  • Selected Scientific Papers: North-Holland Publishing Company 1960;Two volumes