| Press Release

“Napoleon & École Polytechnique”
A Brand-New Online and In-House Exhibition

On the occasion of the bicentenary of the death of Napoleon I, on May 5, 2021, École Polytechnique and its museum, the Mus’X, are commemorating this anniversary with a brand-new exhibition[1] on its campus just south of Paris, France and an original virtual audio series.

May 5, 2021 marks the bicentenary of the death of Napoleon I, an illustrious figure in France’s as well as in École Polytechnique’s history. On this occasion, from May 5th to November 5th 2021, École Polytechnique and its museum, the Mus’X, give the general public the opportunity to revisit the ties between Napoléon Bonaparte and École Polytechnique, which owes to Napoleon I its military status, its flag, and its motto: “For the Nation, Science, and Glory”.   

By browsing through a virtual series in thirteen episodes, available via a dedicated website, Napoleon-polytechnique.com, and an exhibition on the school’s campus, visitors can relive the Napoleonic era through key events, decisive actors, and emblematic objects or representations involving the school. The thirteen episodes, told in chronological order, end outside the walls of École Polytechnique, at Les Invalides, which houses the tomb of Napoleon I as well as that of his son, the King of Rome (Napoleon II).

“Through this unique exhibition, École Polytechnique commemorates its ties with Napoleon Bonaparte, paying tribute to the man who shaped the school’s military DNA and instilled in it a profound attachment to the country. This virtual journey plunges us into the heart of the Napoleonic era and reminds us of the contributions of teachers, scientists, and students at l’X to scientific and societal progress even this early on, especially during the expeditions led by Bonaparte. This exhibition offers a wonderful example of École Polytechnique’s unique heritage, rich with more than two hundred years of history, that l’X and its museum bring to the spotlight,” states Eric Labaye, President of École Polytechnique.

Founded in 1794, École Polytechnique received continuous attention from Napoleon Bonaparte. Long before coming to power, he visited the school regularly and considered it to be “his goose that lays golden eggs” due to the large number of officers in his army and leaders of his administration who came from the school. He returned to École Polytechnique for a last visit during the Hundred Days period to salute the contribution from Polytechnicians in the defense of Paris in 1814, commemorated by the statue of the Conscript, now installed in the “Cour d’Honneur” courtyard at École Polytechnique.
This online and in-house exhibition will be accessible from
May 5th to November 5th 2021 at the Mus’X at École Polytechnique and via:
[1] The exhibition at the Mus’X will open as soon as health & safety conditions in France allow

About École Polytechnique

École Polytechnique, also known as L’X, is the leading French institution combining top-level research, academics, and innovation at the cutting-edge of science and technology. Its various undergraduate and graduate-level programs – Bachelor of Science, Ingénieur Polytechnicien (Master’s level program), Master’s, and PhD – are highly selective and promote a culture of excellence with a strong emphasis on science, anchored in humanist traditions. As a widely internationalized university, École Polytechnique offers a variety of international programs and attracts a growing number of foreign students and researchers from around the globe (currently 41% of students and 40% of faculty members).

École Polytechnique offers an exceptional education to prepare bright men and women to excel in top-level key positions and lead complex and innovative projects which meet the challenges of 21st century society, all while maintaining a keen sense of their civil and social responsibilities. With its 23 laboratories, 22 of which are joint research units with the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), the École Polytechnique Research Center explores the frontiers of interdisciplinary knowledge to provide major contributions to science, technology, and society. École Polytechnique is a founding member of Institut Polytechnique de Paris.

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