National Polytechnic School

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National Polytechnic University of Ecuador
(Spanish: Escuela Politécnica Nacional)
Motto "E scientia hominis salus" (in Latin)
Type Public university
Established 1869
Rector Engineer Jamie Capderon Segovia, M.A.
Undergraduates 10000
Postgraduates 2500
Other students
Location Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador
0°12′38″S 78°29′20″W / 0.21056°S 78.48889°W / -0.21056; -78.48889Coordinates: 0°12′38″S 78°29′20″W / 0.21056°S 78.48889°W / -0.21056; -78.48889
Campus Urban, 152,000 square metres (38 acres)
Mascot Owl
Website (in 5 languages)

The National Polytechnic University (Spanish: Escuela Politécnica Nacional), also known as EPN, is a public university in Quito, Ecuador. The campus, called "José Rubén Orellana", is located at the sector center-oriental of Quito. It occupies an area of 15.2 hectares and has a built area of around 62,000 metres2. Its student body numbers approximately 10,000 of which thirty percent are women. The main campus encompasses ten teaching and research faculties, in addition to four technical and specialized institutes. EPN was founded in 1869 with the aim of becoming the first technical and technological center in the country. Since its beginnings, EPN adopted the polytechnic university model, which stresses laboratory instruction in applied science and engineering. At the campus, there are some libraries with a content primarily oriented to engineering and scientific topics.

EPN has been consistently ranked among the top universities (the so-called Group A) in Ecuador by CEAACES


The National Polytechnic University was founded on August 27, 1869 by the National Convention of Ecuador and the former Ecuadorian President Gabriel García Moreno. EPN is the second-oldest public university in Ecuador, after Central University of Ecuador.

For this purpose, García Moreno hired members of a German Jesuit religious order to manage the university and the Quito Astronomical Observatory. Juan Bautista Menten, Louis Dressel, Theodor Wolf, Joseph Kolberg and Luis Sodiro were among the first scientists who taught at the EPN. It received the name of "Instituto Superior Politecnico", and Menten was its first director; some other notable professors include: Emilio Muellendorf, Armando Wenzel, Cristian Boetzkes, José Epping, Eduardo Brugier, Luis Heiss, Alberto Claessen, P. Clemente Faller; and Joseph Honshteter. The newborn institution was conceived as the first research center of Ecuador and was created with the purpose of contributing to the scientific and technological development of the country. And these academics excelled in several fields such as cartography and mineralogy (Wolfe), Chemistry (Dressel), Botany (Sodiro), Architecture (Kolberg), and other fields of engineering. The advent of electricity to the city of Quito was in part the work of Kolberg and Brugier.

The university was closed by president Borrero in 1876 and remained closed for some decades. In February 1935, President José María Velasco Ibarra re-opened it and in 1946 the name was changed to Escuela Politecnica Nacional. In 1964, the university moved from its old campus near "La Alameda" park to its current campus in El Giron, which was named after former Rector José Rubén Orellana Ricaurte.[1] EPN offers many degrees in engineering and science including civil engineering, electric and electronic engineering, mechanical engineering, power electronics, petroleum engineering, chemical engineering, bio-agricultural engineering, food technology, geology, informatics engineering, mathematics and physics. In addition to science and engineering degrees, EPN also started offering technical and technological degrees, with the School of Information and Technology being founded in 1967.[2]

Volcanic monitoring[edit]

Tungurahua spews hot lava and ash at night (1999).

In Ecuador, the National Polytechnic University department looks to the monitoring of the volcanic activity in this andean nation. Cotopaxi is a stratovolcano in the Andes Mountains, located about 50 km (31 mi) south of Quito, Ecuador, South America.[3] It is the second highest summit in the country, reaching a height of 5,897 m (19,347 ft). Some consider it the world's highest active volcano,[4] while others give this status to the considerably higher Llullaillaco, which most recently erupted in 1877 and is one of Ecuador's most active volcanoes. Since 1738, Cotopaxi has erupted more than 50 times, resulting in the creation of numerous valleys formed by lahars (mudflows) around the volcano.

In October 1999, Pichincha Volcano erupted in Quito and covered the city with several inches of ash. Prior to that, the last major eruptions were in 1553[5] and in 1660, when about 30 cm of ash fell on the city.[6]

At 5230 meters, Sangay Volcano[7]) is an active stratovolcano in central Ecuador and is one of the highest active volcanoes in the world and one of Ecuador's most active ones, erupting three times in recorded history. It exhibits mostly strombolian activity; the most recent eruption, which started in 1934, is still ongoing. Geologically, Sangay marks the southern bound of the Northern Volcanic Zone, and its position straddling two major pieces of crust accounts for its high level of activity. Sangay's approximately 500,000-year-old history is one of instability; two previous versions of the mountain were destroyed in massive flank collapses, evidence of which still litters its surroundings today. Sangay is one of two active volcanoes located within the namesake Sangay National Park, the other being Tungurahua to the north. As such it has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983.

Reventador is an active stratovolcano which lies in the eastern Andes of Ecuador. Since 1541 it has erupted over 25 times with most recent eruption in 2009,[8] but the largest historical eruption occurred in 2002. During that eruption the plume from the volcano reached a height of 17 km and pyroclastic flows went up to 7 km from the cone. On March 30, 2007, the mountain spewed ash again. The ash reached a height of about two miles (3 km, 11,000 ft).

Cotopaxi, outside of Quito started activity in April 2015, the volcano began to show signs of unrest, and came back to life. There was a large increase in earthquakes (including harmonic tremors) and SO2 emissions. IGPEN reported slight deformation of the edifice, suggesting an intrusion of magma under the volcano. As of 25 July, the unrest continued, and the most recent major eruption was an ash and steam eruption that occurred on August 14 and 15, 2015.[9][10][11][12][13]

Wolf Volcano (also known as Mount Whiton)[14] is the highest peak in the Galapagos Islands and is situated on Isabela Island and reaches 1,707 m (5,600 ft). It is a shield volcano with a characteristic upturned soup bowl shape. Inactive for 33 years, the Wolf volcano erupted May 25, 2015. The volcano is not located near a populated area. The lava is flowing down the volcano's east and southeast sides, so the pink land iguana inhabiting the north and west sides have not been endangered.[15][16][17] June 11, 2015 NASA photograph The Quito Astronomical Observatory ("Observatorio Astronomico de Quito" or OAQ in Spanish) is currently a research institute of EPN in Quito, Ecuador.[18][19] Founded in 1873, OAQ is one of the oldest observatories in South America. It is located near the city's historic center, only 12 minutes south of the Equator. Its major research fields include astronomy, astrophysics, and atmospheric physics.[20]

Astronomy at the Quito Observatory[edit]

One of the Oldest Observatories in South America is the Quito Astronomical Observatory.

The Quito Astronomical Observatory was founded in 1873. Its first director was Juan Bautista Menten, who directed and planned the construction of the Center, modeled on the Observatory of Bonn (Germany). The building was finished in 1878 and completely restored in 2009. Contained with it is one of the most important collections of nineteenth-century scientific instruments, featuring a refracting telescope and a meridian circle manufactured by Repsold.

The activities and services currently provided by the OAQ are:

  • Night observations by telescopes
  • Astronomical information on the equatorial zone
  • Basic astronomy courses
  • Library
  • Operation of the museum on the premises
  • Annual publications
  • Antique seismometers
Artist Concepception, Quito Astronomical Observatory, artist Ludwig Dressel (1873).

Radiation and nuclear science[edit]

In 1958, research with radioactive isotopes focused mainly on the thyroid function with I-131 began in the Department of Biomedical Applications. In 1959, the Departments of Applications to Agriculture and Medicine were created.

At the end of 1966, the International Atomic Energy Agency sent the British expert Dr. Ivan Birchall to give advice during the organization of the Dosimetry section. The expert made the radiological control of all the facilities in the country using machines that work with X-ray and radioactive sources, with the collaboration of the staff of the Institute of Nuclear Sciences. Later, the IAEA sent the Austrian expert, Dr. Norbert Vana, to train the technicians of the Institute of Nuclear Sciences in thermoluminescent dosimetry techniques.

Centro de Educación Continua de la Escuela Politécnica Nacional[edit]

Centro de Educación Continua de la Escuela Politécnica Nacional.[21] English as a second or foreign language has over 7,000 students for English, French & Russian.[22]

Office of International Programs[edit]

The Office of International Programs and Services provides a permanent and personalized service for the whole community at the National Polytechnic School.[23]

School of Information and Technology[edit]

The School of Information and Technology at EPN has been in operation since 1967 and has a focus on Computer Networking, Telecommunications networking and teaching all about Computer programming and how computers exchange data.[24]

Gustavo Orcés V. Natural History Museum[edit]

The Gustavo Orcés V. Natural History Museum is part of the Life Sciences Institute on the campus of the National Polytechnic School. The main focus is the conducting research in the Ecuadorian fauna in the fields of biodiversity, ecology, zoology, and environmental impact assessments and contributes to national environmental culture through the Natural History Museum Gustavo Orces.

The Institute of Biological Sciences, National Polytechnic School comprises two sections: the Center for Information and Research of Vertebrate Zoology and the Museum of Natural History Orcés Gustavo V. The institute, for more than half a century has been devoted to the study of Ecuadorian fauna; its history goes back to 1946, with the arrival of the French University Mission. One of its members, Professor Robert Hoffstetter was responsible for zoos and paleontological studies and Dr Gustavo Orces V. conmtinued these studies for decades, cataloging species of Ecuador, and discovering new ones.

The museum has the remains of the only complete Mamooth found in Ecuador.


  • Administrative Sciences
  • Chemical Engineering and Agro-Industry
  • Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Computer Science Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronics Engineering
  • Geology and Petroleum
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Exact Sciences: Mathematics, Physics

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Nacional, Escuela Politécnica (2010-08-21). "Síntesis Histórica". Escuela Politécnica Nacional (in Spanish). Retrieved 2016-11-02. 
  2. ^ In 1967, the School of Information and Technology was founded
  3. ^ "Distance from Quito to Cotopaxi". 
  4. ^ "Cotopaxi". Encyclopædia Britannica. 
  5. ^ Climate and Weather, Kington,J. Collins London,(2010)
  6. ^ "Ecuadoreans Wait Uneasily On Volcanoes". Associated Press. 28 November 1999 – via The New York Times. 
  7. ^ "Sangay: Synonyms and subfeatures". Global Volcanism Program. Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 5 February 2012. 
  8. ^ Reventador volcano spews lava near Ecuador capital - AP Online | HighBeam Research
  9. ^ "A Restless Volcano Puts Ecuador on Edge Once More". WIRED. 17 June 2015. 
  10. ^ National Polytechnic School Geophysics Institute is constantly monitoring Cotopaxi
  11. ^ "Ecuador declares state of emergency over volcano". 
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Volcán Wolf". Chinci World Atlas. Retrieved 9 January 2016. 
  15. ^ "Wolf volcano erupts on Galapagos island - BBC News". Retrieved 2015-05-27. 
  16. ^ "Volcano Erupts in Galapagos Islands, Home to Unique Pink Iguanas". Retrieved 2015-05-27. 
  17. ^ Galápagos, Parque. "Ministerio del Ambiente evalúa erupción del volcán Wolf". Parque Nacional Galápagos. Retrieved 2015-05-27. 
  18. ^ NASA, Scientific research, Virtual Telescope System.
  19. ^ The Quito Astronomical Observatory is managed by EPN, official web site
  20. ^ [1] The Quito Astronomical Observatory
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ The Office of International Programs and Services at EPN
  24. ^ School of Information and Technology at EPN
  25. ^ Nacional, Escuela Politécnica (2010-08-31). "Oferta Académica". Escuela Politécnica Nacional (in Spanish). Retrieved 2016-11-02. 

External links[edit]