École Polytechnique is also known as l’X (pronounced lix) because of its logo which symbolices two crossed cannons as well as the ubiquitous x variable used in scientific and mathematic equations.

French École Polytechnique joins EuroTech alliance

Friday 08 Jun 18


Rasmus Larsen
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The presidents of the four EuroTech universities welcomed a new member to the alliance on 7 June—the French institute École Polytechnique.

The EuroTech alliance Universities, co-founded by DTU in 2006, welcomed a new member on 7 June—namely the French institute École Polytechnique. The alliance’s other members are École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland, Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, and the Technical University of Munich in Germany.

Expanding membership was never a goal in itself, explains Provost Rasmus Larsen, as the EuroTech partners place greater emphasis on close cooperation than on volume.

“That said, we contacted École Polytechnique because they have the same profile as the rest of the group—an elite technical university with international outreach. And we believe that the partnership offers new opportunities for strategic research, access to superb infrastructure, joint study programmes—and not least research results that benefit society,” says Rasmus Larsen.

“Each university has its very own ecosystem of businesses, markets, and capital which the students and researchers can draw on. Globalization increases competition at all levels, and in order to be a strong national resource, we must also maintain a strong international presence. One way of achieving this goal is through the EuroTech alliance.”

Eurotech has also drawn international attention at the highest level. When French President Emmanuel Macron spoke about the future university structure in Europe at the Sorbonne, he was in fact alluding to the Eurotech alliance as a good model. Macron is a firm believer in strengthening the technical sciences as a basis for societal growth and prosperity.

 Photo: J. Barande    


École Polytechnique was established in 1794 during the French Revolution, gained military status in 1804 under Napoleon I, and is still supervised by the French Ministry of Defence.


Model for DTU
École Polytechnique was founded in 1794 and the Danish scientist H.C. Ørsted was affiliated in various ways with the French institute. The experiment which led to Ørsted’s discovery of electromagnetism was verified by André-Marie Ampère—a professor at the institute—and Ørsted visited the university on several occasions.

It was precisely during this period in Denmark that debate centered on promoting the natural sciences for the benefit of society.

The idea was to establish an engineering school where craftsmen could upgrade their education, but Ørsted believed that Denmark should be more ambitious and emulate the French by setting up a polytechnic.

“As we know, this is what happened, so in a way you can say that the École Polytechnique formed the basis for our success,” says Rasmus Larsen.


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