A C Cilliers1898 - 1980
Author of scientific and autobiographical books
Professor of Theoretical Physics at Stellenbosch University, 1940 - 1963
Andries Charles Cilliers was born on 1 January 1898 at Wellington, in the Cape
He matriculated at Paarl and studied Physics at Stellenbosch University
(B.Sc., M.Sc. cum laude 1919) and in Göttingen and
Germany (Ph.D. summa cum laude 1924).
He was appointed senior lecturer in Mathematics at the University
of Cape Town in 1924 and senior lecturer in
Physics at Stellenbosch University in 1925.
During the period 1940 to his retirement in 1963 he was Professor of
Theoretical Physics at Stellenbosch University and, on
occasion, Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences.
In 1932 he married Mimi de Villiers and they had two sons, Andries Charl and Fanie, both lawyers.
A C Cilliers died in September 1980 in the Strand, near Cape Town.
The central theme in the life of AC Cilliers was the combating and curtailment
of unrestricted growth, not only in nature, but also and especially in relation
to the great man-made crisis: the pressure of population in the 20th century.
His Life on the Sigmoid is a reformulation of the Malthusian principles in this
connection. This theme of controlled growth was also applied in his view of
the nature, role and structure of universities. His constructive criticism
of the doctrine of holism of General Smuts is in the same vein.
His contribution to South African public life appears from the "A C Cilliers
Versameling", housed in the J S Gericke Library, Stellenbosch.
'Prof. A.C. - só het almal hom geken - het in die jare dertig 'n groot rol
gespeel in die versoening van genls. Smuts en Hertzog en ná die Depressie het hy
ook'n vername aandeel gehad aan die opbou van die Afrikaner'
Chairman of a government Film Committee, 1938 (report 1943).
A founder member of SABRA (SA Bureau for Racial Affairs).
Secretary of Stellenbosch Versoeningskomitee ("Reconciliation
Committee"), attempting political reconciliation between
Afrikaners. (1939-1941). Minister Ben Schoeman in his
"Eintlik kan gesê word dat hy [A C Cilliers]
die vader van die Afrikanerparty was".Senate representative on the Council of the University of
Stellenbosch for sixteen years.
Member of the South African Academy of Arts and Science (1946).
Member of the Atomic Energy Board.
Chairman of a committee of inquiry into
the subsidy formula for universities (1961), whose report was
implemented by the government in virtually all respects.
Chairman of the Universities Advisory Committee 1963 to 1974.
In 1967 his comprehensive report to the government concerning review of state
subsidies for universities for the period 1969 to 1974, led, inter alia, to a commission of inquiry into universities in South Africa.
Fishing, hunting and golf
After his retirement A C Cilliers was awarded doctorates, honoris causa, by
the following universities:
University of Cape Town, University of the Witwatersrand, Rhodes University,
University of Port Elizabeth and the University of South Africa.
In the Rhodes University citation he was referred to as
"...a dynamic South African, who has contributed to the culture of our land,
not only in his own field of mathematics and physics, but also in politics, and
pre-eminently in university finance and administration."
PublicationsHolism and Evolution (Review of book by General Smuts in Die
A Mathematical Expression for the Growth of Trees and Their Dependence on time
and Density of Stocking (with J H van Wyk),
Annals of the Stellenbosch University, 1938
A series of pamphlets (1938 to 1941) dealing with South African
political matters relating to Afrikaner unity
Our Heritage - Ons Erfenis (Union Films) (script
Dimensie-leer of Logometrie ('n Verhandeling oor die Grondslae
van die Simbole-rekening in die Fisika), Annale, Universiteit van
Ex Unitate Vires (A Plea for a Grand Political Alliance as a
Prerequisite for the Solution of the South African Trilemma
(Biological, Physiological and Racial) (Pamphlet, 42 pages,
Reports to the Cabinet on university finances over a number of
Extensive publications in non-technical journals and newspapers over many years
in respect of scientific, philosophical and socio-political matters, including
birth control, racial affairs and separate development, representation in
Parliament, the conservation of water and the preservation of farms, as well as
university affairs. He also participated in many radio programmes.Books
The State and the Universities 1910 to 1943, Maskew
Life on the Sigmoid - An essay on Bio-Politics, Volume 1,
The Problem of Growth, 1946
The Minerva Calendar and the Periodic Fertility of Women, (booklet, second
impression 1952, and the patented Calendar)
Die Silwer Soom (autobiography), 1959
Deel I: Kinderjare op 'n Bolandse Plaas, 1971
Deel II: Seunsjare op Olyfboom, 1972
Deel III: Studiejare in Suid-Afrika en Duitsland, 1973
Deel IV: In die Stryd van my Tyd (uncompleted manuscript,
housed in the library of the Stellenbosch University)
Text by Andries Cilliers, January 2004
www.StellenboschWriters.com © Rosemarie Breuer