Hendrik van der Bijl

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Dr Hendrik Johannes van der Bijl FRS[1] (23 November 1887 – 2 December 1948) was a South African electrical engineer and industrialist.[2]

He was the founding chairman of the Electricity Supply Commission (ESCOM, later to become Eskom) in 1923. In 1927, he was the president of the South African Institute of Electrical Engineers (SAIEE).[3] Dr van der Bijl established the Iron and Steel Corporation of South Africa (ISCOR), and was its chairman for many years. The city of Vanderbijlpark, where ISCOR's major steel works was built and still operates, is named after him.

He was chancellor of the University of Pretoria from 1934 until 1948. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1944.[4]

He is now perhaps best remembered for the van der Bijl equation which describes the relationship of the three 'constants' of a vacuum tube, the transconductance gm, the gain μ and the plate resistance rp or ra. The van der Bijl equation defines their relationship as follows:

g_m = {\mu \over r_p}[5]


  1. ^ Schonland, B. F. J. (1950). "Hendrik Johannes van der Bijl. 1887-1948". Obituary Notices of Fellows of the Royal Society 7 (19): 26. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1950.0003. 
  2. ^ Rosenthal, E: Southern African Dictionary of National Biography, Frederick Warne and Co. Ltd, 1966, pp. 389-390, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 66-15690
  3. ^ Crouch, M: The First Ten Decades, Chris van Rensburg Publications, 2009, p. 32, ISBN 0-86846-110-5
  4. ^ "Library and Archive caralog". Royal Society. Retrieved 2012-08-06. 
  5. ^ van der Bijl, H. J. (1919). Theory and Operating Characteristics of the Thermionic Amplifier. Proceedings of the IRE, 7(2)
Academic offices
Preceded by
Adriaan Louw
Chancellor of the University of Pretoria
1934– 1948
Succeeded by
Charles Theodore Te Water