École Centrale Paris
|Motto||Leader, Entrepreneur, Innovateur|
|Type||Public, Grand établissement|
(1,789 engineer candidates)
|Affiliations||University of Paris-Saclay, Centrale Graduate School, TIME, CESAER, UniverSud Paris|
École Centrale Paris (ECP, often referred to as École Centrale or Centrale) was a French postgraduate-level institute of research and higher education in engineering and science. It was also known by its official name École Centrale des Arts et Manufactures.
Founded in 1829, it was among the most prestigious and selective grandes écoles. Rooted in rich entrepreneurial tradition since the industrial revolution era, it served as the cradle for top-level engineers and executives who continue to constitute a major part of the industry leadership in France. Since the 19th century, its model of education for training generalist engineers inspired the establishment of several engineering institutes around the world, such as the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland, Faculté polytechnique de Mons in Belgium, as well as other member schools of the Ecole Centrales Group alliance in France, Morocco, China, and India.
"Between 1832 and 1870, the Central School of Arts and Manufactures produced 3,000 engineers, and served as a model for most of the industrialized countries."
École Centrale des Arts et Manufactures was founded in 1829 as a private institute by Alphonse Lavallée, a lawyer and a prominent businessman from Nantes, who put forward most of his personal capital into founding the school, together with three top scientists who became its founding associates: Eugène Peclet, Jean-Baptiste Dumas, and Théodore Olivier. Notably, Lavallée was a shareholder of Le Globe, which became in 1831 the official organ of the Saint-Simonian movement.
The founding vision of École Centrale was to train multidisciplinary engineers who will become the first "doctors of factories and mills" of the then-emerging industrial sector in France, at a time when most of the other engineering schools trained students for public service. As the scientific discoveries in this era were beginning to have a major impact on industrial development in Europe, a new breed of engineers with a broad and rigorous knowledge of sciences and mathematics were needed in order for France to develop its industry and consequently compete amongst the world's superpowers.
The school was initially located in various premises in Paris, including Hotel Salé (which now hosts the Picasso Museum) and buildings which now belong to Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers. Lavallée served as the first president of École Centrale.
In 1857, Lavallée transferred the ownership of the school to the French state in order to ensure its sustainability. Under Napoleon's initiative for an imperial university, the school was then temporarily renamed as École Impériale des Arts et Manufactures.
In 1862, graduates of the school were awarded accredited graduate diplomas in engineering, with the official academic title of 'ingénieur des arts et manufactures', which was the first of its kind in France.
The school was transferred in 1969 to a new campus located in Châtenay-Malabry. The Châtenay-Malabry campus was designed by architect Jean Fayeton [fr], and was inaugurated by President Georges Pompidou, who was accompanied on this occasion by Robert Galley. The school was renamed as École Centrale des Arts et Manufactures.
In 2015, the school formed a strategic alliance with Supélec to create CentraleSupélec, which is part of the University of Paris-Saclay. The new campus is located in Gif-sur-Yvette, approximately 20 km from the center of Paris.
École Centrale Paris was one of the Centrale Graduate Schools associated as the Groupe Centrale network with its sister institutes (Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Beijing, Hyderabad (with Mahindra Group) and Casablanca).
Since 1837, the school had established several international partnerships (double degrees, exchanges, research collaboration) with the world's leading universities, such as California Institute of Technology, University of Cambridge, ETH Zurich, Georgia Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Indian Institutes of Technology, KAIST, Princeton University, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Politecnico di Milano, National University of Singapore, Stanford University, University of Toronto, Tsinghua University, TU Delft and Technische Universität München. It was a founding member of the TIME (Top Industrial Managers for Europe) network among top engineering schools in Europe, and also a member of the UniverSud Paris and the CESAER association of European engineering schools.
Initially located in the Hôtel de Juigné (now Hôtel Salé and home to the Musée Picasso), the main campus of the school was transferred to rue Montgolfier in 1884, where it stayed until 1969. Its current location neighbours the Parc de Sceaux.
Former location of the École Centrale, rue Montgolfier in Paris (3rd arrondissement):
The school is now located at Châtenay-Malabry, Hauts-de-Seine, a southern suburb of Paris, France (in the Île-de-France region), next to the Parc de Sceaux and its Château de Sceaux. Within the main campus at Châtenay Malabry, ECP hosts eight laboratories:
- Molecular and Macroscopic Energy, Combustion
- System Analysis and Macroeconomics Modeling
- Industrial Engineering
- Chemical Engineering and Materials Processing Laboratory
- Applied Mathematics
- Soil and Structure Mechanics
- Technology and Strategy
- Solids Structure and Properties
Most of the 2000 students at École Centrale Paris stay in dedicated on-campus student residences, which is located near the research labs and easily accessible via public transport.
Most French students who were admitted to École Centrale Paris had completed 2 to 3 years of post high school education in sciences through the classes préparatoires or prépas, which corresponds to freshman and sophomore years at US universities. The classes préparatoires is itself a selective program that admits less than top 10% of high school graduates in France each year. The entrance examination to the grandes écoles including École Centrale Paris is taken by students only at the end of their second year in prépas (Mathématiques spéciales).
For its flagship degree program leading to the engineer's degree Diplôme d'ingénieur, École Centrale Paris recruited among the top 4% candidates from prépas for a quota of about 400 students, in addition to about top 50 students from overseas partner universities after an equivalently selective process each year. A small number of places was also reserved for students who have successfully completed a 3-year undergraduate program in a French university.
The general engineering program at Centrale was multidisciplinary and typically lasted between 3 and 4 years. The curriculum was similar to those offered at other general engineering schools (écoles d'ingénieurs généralistes). All courses were taught in either French or English.
During the first year (Tronc Commun, or Common Core), students were required to study several subjects in science (mathematics, quantum physics, biology…), engineering (continuum mechanics, heat transfer, algorithms, programming…), as well as social sciences (economics, management, foreign languages…). In the second year, students were given the option to choose elective courses but with heavy emphasis in science nevertheless. The first two years were also used to train students in various research, startup and industry projects. In the third year, students could choose to major (specialize) in a particular field depending on their academic and professional interests. Upon graduation, students received the degree of Diplôme d'Ingénieur (equivalent to Master of Science) along with the title of Ingénieur diplômé, which was more commonly called Ingénieur centralien.
The Graduate School
The school offered a broad range of specialized master's programmes in science and engineering (one-year or two-year programs).
It also offered various Ph.D. programmes for holders of a master's degree. More than 200 doctoral candidates currently work in one of the eight laboratories of the school.
The following is a non-exhaustive list of notable alumni of Ecole Centrale Paris, also commonly known as Centraliens or Pistons, which is a reference to the piston engine as one of the key innovations that powered the French industrial revolution.
Name (Year of graduation):
- Norbert Rillieux (1830), inventor of the multiple-effect evaporator
- Gustave Eiffel (1855), designer of the Eiffel Tower and the internal structure of the Statue of Liberty
- William Le Baron Jenney (1856), architect of the first steel framed building in Chicago
- Georges Leclanché (1860), inventor of Leclanché cell
- Émile Levassor and René Panhard (1864), founders of the first car manufacturing company, Panhard et Levassor
- André Michelin (1877), founder of Michelin
- Edmond Coignet (1879) a pioneer of reinforced concrete
- Georges Vésier (1882), president of the Compagnie française des métaux
- Louis Blériot (1895), aviation pioneer, first pilot to cross the Channel
- Georges Darrieus, French aeronautical engineer, inventor of the Darrieus wind turbine
- Armand Peugeot (1895), founder of automobile maker Peugeot (Peugeot PSA)
- René Lorin (1901), French aeronautical engineer, patented the first ramjet engine
- Solomon Lefschetz (1905), American mathematician
- Pierre-Georges Latécoère (1906), aeronautics pioneer, founder of Latécoère and Aéropostale (later Air France)
- Marcel Schlumberger (1907), co-founder of Schlumberger Limited
- Etienne Oehmichen (1908), pioneer of helicopters
- Boris Vian (1942), writer
- Mehdi Bazargan, former Iranian Prime Minister
- Francis Bouygues (1947), founder of Bouygues
- Jacques Maisonrouge (1948), Corporate Executive at IBM
- Gérard Pélisson (1955), founder of the Accor group (Novotel, Sofitel, Mercure, All Seasons hotels)
- Robert Peugeot, Peugeot holding president as of 2005[update]
- Antoine (1966), singer-songwriter, navigator
- Henri Gouraud (1967), computer scientist
- Sébastien Candel (1968), physicist, Vice President of the French Academy of Sciences
- Justin Ndioro (1972), former Cameroonian Minister of Finances (1993–1996)
- Étienne Klein, physicist and professor, Research Director of the CEA
- François Goulard (1976), French delegate minister for research (2005–2007)
- Benoît Potier (1979), CEO of Air Liquide
- Pierre Chappaz (1982), founder of Kelkoo
- Jean-Loïc Galle (1982), President and CEO of Thales Alenia Space
- Charbel Farhat (1983), professor at Stanford University
- Bernard Liautaud (1984), founder of Business Objects
- Édouard Michelin (born 1963) (1987), former CEO of Michelin
- Driss Ben-Brahim (1987), investor and highest paid trader in London
- Charles Beigbeder (1988), CEO of Poweo
- Bruno Iksil (1991), the 'London Whale'
- Valerie Masson-Delmotte (1993, 1996), climate scientist 
- Jean-Sebastien Jacques (1994), Rio Tinto CEO
- Fabrice Tourre (2000), the 'Fabulous Fab'
They include, in alphabetical order:
- Paul Appell - mathematician
- Raymond Barre, economist, Vice President of the European Commission, French Prime Minister
- Sébastien Candel - physicist, President of the French Academy of Sciences
- Jean-Daniel Colladon - engineer and physicist
- Gustave-Gaspard Coriolis - physicist, known for the Coriolis effect
- Jean-Baptiste Dumas - chemist, known for atomic weights
- Jacques Hadamard - mathematician
- Étienne Klein - physicist and philosopher of science
- Joseph Liouville - mathematician
- Anselme Payen - chemist, discovered the first enzyme
- Eugène Péclet - physicist, known for the Péclet number
- Émile Picard - mathematician
Notes and references
- Ecole Centrale Paris key figures (2016)
- Pierre Bourdieu (1998). The State Nobility: Elite Schools in the Field of Power. Stanford UP. pp. 133–35.
- Online article on EPFL history
- Biography of Théodore Olivier
- "List of centrale paris partners february 2014". Issuu. Retrieved 2016-06-02.
- Note on classes préparatoires
- MS programs at ECP
- "Norbert Rillieux". American Chemical Society. Retrieved 2016-03-18.
- (in French)french ministry for research
- (in French)profile on AXA Talents website
- "Valerie Masson-Delmotte". Le Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement. Retrieved 2016-06-24.
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