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History of the School

In 1793, the war which opposed revolutionary France to a coalition of Europe completely disorganized the schools of instruction and teaching. In 1794 Lamblardie, director of the École des Ponts et Chaussées, who lost a great number of his pupils, thought of creating a preparatory school for bridges and roads, and then for all the engineers. Monge, a former professor at the School of Military Engineering at Mezieres, was enthusiastic about this idea and convinced several members of the Committee of Public Safety and the Convention. A decree of March 11, 1794 created the Central School of Public Works which became Ecole Polytechnique in 1795.

© Collections École polytechnique-Palaiseau(France)

The purpose of this School was to train engineers of all kinds. The content of the first plan of instruction is elaborated by Monge on two axes: the mathematics and the physics acquired by the experiment in the laboratories.

Today the uniqueness of the School's rich scientific heritage, whatever its medium (archives, objects, books, iconographies) is fundamental to the study of its history, the preservation of its memory and Its reputation abroad.





Creation of the École centrale des travaux publics, which took the name of École Polytechnique one year later.



Napoleon gives a military status to the School, and a motto:
"For the Fatherland, the Sciences and the Glory".



The School becomes a public institution, under the supervision of the Ministry of Defense.



Anne Chopinet, X 1972, entrance major
Young girls are allowed to compete.



The School is transferred to Palaiseau (south of Paris)



A new way of the concour is open to foreigners



The reform of the Polytechnic Cycle sets the duration of the curriculum at 4 years


See the videos of the major periods in the history of the Ecole polytechnique.