École Polytechnique

Discover the notable alumni of École Polytechnique. The list includes people like Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, Siméon Denis Poisson, Urbain Le Verrier, Henri Louis Le Chatelier & Jean Borotra. This list of notable alumni is loosely sorted by popularity and has people from different domains of life, such as scientists, miscellaneous, leaders, engineers and intellectuals & academics etc.
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 1 
Auguste Comte
(French Philosopher and Founder of Sociology and Positivism )
Auguste Comte
13
Birthdate: January 19, 1798
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Montpellier, France
Died: September 5, 1857
Known as the pioneer of sociology and positivism, philosopher Auguste Comte had an elite schooling at the prestigious École Polytechnique. Though infamous for being egocentric, he was known for his dedication to society and social upliftment. He authored The Positive Philosophy and was influenced by Henri de Saint-Simon.
 2 
Benoit Mandelbrot
(American Mathematician and Polymath Best Known for Popularizing the Concept of Fractal Geometry)
Benoit Mandelbrot
3
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: November 20, 1924
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
Died: October 14, 2010

Noted mathematician and polymath, Benoit B. Mandelbrot is perhaps best known for his work on fractal. He not only coined the term, but also used computer-constructed images to illustrate the mathematical definition. Also credited with the discovery of Mandelbrot set and Mandelbrot law, he established that even those things which were apparently chaotic or rough had a "degree of order".

 3 
Henri Poincare
(French Polymath and Mathematician Known as One of the Founders of the 'Field of Topology')
Henri Poincare
3
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: April 29, 1854
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Nancy, France
Died: July 17, 1912
Known as The Last Universalist for his expertise in a variety of domains, French mathematician Henri Poincare conducted research that formed the basis of the modern chaos theory. Apart from his work on relativity and the three-body problem, he also laid the foundation of algebraic topology.
 4 
Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac
(French Chemist and Physicist Who Discovered That Water is Made of Two Parts Hydrogen and One Part Oxygen)
Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac
0
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: December 6, 1778
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat, France
Died: May 9, 1850

Known for his pathbreaking Gay-Lussac's Law, French chemist-physicist Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac was also the first, along with his colleague Alexander von Humboldt, to discover that water is composed of one part of oxygen and two parts of hydrogen. His name is one of the 72 that adorn the Eiffel Tower.

 5 
Carlos Ghosn
(Former Chairman and CEO of the Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance)
Carlos Ghosn
14
Listed In: Business People
Birthdate: March 9, 1954
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Porto Velho, Rondônia, Brazil

Carlos Ghosn is a French–Lebanese–Brazilian businessman who served as the CEO of Michelin North America. He also served as the chairman and CEO of Nissan and Renault. In 1999, he saved Nissan from near bankruptcy and turned around its fortune. In 2018, he was arrested in Japan for misusing Nissan's assets. He dramatically escaped from the custody is currently an internationally wanted fugitive.

 6 
Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
(President of France (1974 - 1981))
Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
1
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: February 2, 1926
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Koblenz, Germany
Died: December 2, 2020

Valéry Giscard d'Estaing was a seasoned French politician who served as President of France. During his presidency, Giscard d'Estaing promoted nuclear power and liberalisation of trade, pushed for development of projects like TGV, and took a more liberal attitude on social issues like divorce, abortion and contraception. He emerged as the longest-lived president in the history of France.

 7 
Joseph Joffre
(Commander-in-Chief of French Forces During the World War I)
Joseph Joffre
2
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: January 12, 1852
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rivesaltes, France
Died: January 3, 1931

Known as the Victor of the Marne and Papa Joffre, French military commander Joseph Joffre is remembered for his exploits at the Western Front during and after World War I. Following the German invasion of Verdun, he lost his command over the army and was made the Marshal of France.

 8 
Nicolas Léonard Sadi Carnot
(French Mechanical Engineer Who is Described as the Father of Thermodynamics)
Nicolas Léonard Sadi Carnot
2
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: June 1, 1796
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: August 24, 1832

Son of French Revolutionary leader and mathematician Lazare Carnot, Sadi Carnot was an engineer in the French army. He later laid down the Carnot cycle of heat engines. Much of his works were buried with him when he died of cholera at 36, due to the contagiousness of the disease.

 9 
Siméon Denis Poisson
(Mathematician)
Siméon Denis Poisson
0
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: June 21, 1781
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Pithiviers, France
Died: April 25, 1840
 10 
Georges Sorel
(Social Thinker, Political Theorist & Historian Known for His Advocacy of 'Sorelianism')
Georges Sorel
0
Birthdate: November 2, 1847
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Cherbourg, France
Died: August 29, 1922

Georges Sorel was a French political theorist, social thinker, journalist, and historian. He is credited with inspiring Sorelianism, a support system for his ideologies. Georges Sorel is also credited with inspiring several socialists, Fascists, Marxists, and anarchists. In 1891, Georges Sorel was honored with the prestigious Légion d'honneur.

 11 
Charles Koechlin
(Composer)
Charles Koechlin
0
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: November 27, 1867
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: December 31, 1950
 12 
Charles de Foucauld
(French Soldier, Explorer, Catholic Priest and Hermit)
Charles de Foucauld
2
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: September 15, 1858
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Strasbourg, France
Died: December 1, 1916

Charles de Foucauld was a cavalry officer in the French Army in the late 19th century. He later became an explorer and geographer, eventually adopting the life of a hermit and a Catholic priest. He was assassinated in 1916 and is listed as a martyr in the liturgy of the Catholic Church. 

 13 
Jean Borotra
(French Tennis Player)
Jean Borotra
0
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: August 13, 1898
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Biarritz, France
Died: July 17, 1994
Height: 6'1" (185 cm)
 14 
André Citroën
(French Industrialist and the Founder of French Automaker 'Citroën')
André Citroën
0
Listed In: Business People
Birthdate: February 5, 1878
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: July 3, 1935

André Citroën was a French industrialist. He is credited with founding the popular automobile company Citroën and is best remembered for making Citroën cars. He also helped his company become the world's fourth-largest automobile manufacturer by the beginning of the 1930s. In 1998, he was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame.

 15 
Gaspard-Gustave de Coriolis
(French Mathematician, Mechanical Engineer and Scientist Who First Described the 'Coriolis Force')
Gaspard-Gustave de Coriolis
0
Listed In: Engineers
Birthdate: May 21, 1792
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: September 19, 1843

French mathematician and physicist Gaspard-Gustave de Coriolis proposed what is now known as Coriolis force. While teaching at the École Polytechnique, Paris, he extended the scope of kinetic energy. His On the Calculation of Mechanical Action remains his most significant book. His name remains inscribed on the Eiffel Tower.

 16 
Urbain Le Verrier
(French Astronomer and Mathematician Best Known for Predicting the Existence and Position of 'Neptune' Using Only Mathematics)
Urbain Le Verrier
1
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: March 11, 1811
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Saint-Lô, France
Died: September 23, 1877

French astronomer Urbain Le Verrier revolutionized celestial mechanics by ascertaining the existence of Neptune by mathematical means. Apart from winning the Royal Society of London’s Copley Medal, he had also led the Observatory of Paris as its director. His name remains one of the 72 engraved on the Eiffel Tower.

 17 
Albert Lebrun
(Former President of France)
Albert Lebrun
2
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: August 29, 1871
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Mercy-le-Haut, France
Died: March 6, 1950

The last French president of the Third Republic, Albert Lebrun had been a skilled mining engineer before venturing into politics. A moderate conservative, he served more as a mediator between the right and the left and called for French unity during World War II, but wasn’t a strong leader.

 18 
Pierre Schaeffer
(French Composer and Founder of Groupe de Recherche de Musique Concrète)
Pierre Schaeffer
0
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: August 14, 1910
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Nancy, France
Died: August 19, 1995

Pierre Schaeffer was a French composer, musicologist, writer, engineer, broadcaster, and acoustician. Schaeffer is credited with founding Groupe de Recherche de Musique Concrète. Schaeffer's innovative work in communications, acoustics, and literature as well as his anti-nuclear activism earned him widespread recognition. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential electronic musicians of all time.

 19 
Alfred de Vigny
(French Poet and Early French Romanticist)
Alfred de Vigny
1
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: March 27, 1797
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Loches, France
Died: September 17, 1863

Alfred de Vigny was a French poet whose poem La Maison du berger is regarded by some as the greatest 19th-century French poem. One of the leaders of French Romanticism, Vigny also wrote philosophical novels. Also regarded as a thinker, Alfred de Vigny was one of the first French poets to develop a serious interest in Buddhism.

 20 
Tidjane Thiam
(Ivorian and French Businessman)
Tidjane Thiam
1
Listed In: Business People
Birthdate: July 29, 1962
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Côte d'Ivoire
 21 
Louis-Eugène Cavaignac
(General)
Louis-Eugène Cavaignac
0
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: October 15, 1802
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: October 28, 1857
 22 
Jules Dumont d'Urville
(French Explorer and Naval Officer Who Explored the Western and South Pacific, New Zealand, Australia, and Antarctica)
Jules Dumont d'Urville
0
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: May 23, 1790
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Condé-sur-Noireau, France
Died: May 8, 1842

Jules Dumont d'Urville was a French naval officer and explorer best remembered for exploring the western and south Pacific, New Zealand, Australia, and Antarctica. Jules Dumont d'Urville was also a cartographer and botanist; he is credited with naming several plants, seaweeds, and shrubs.

 23 
Conrad Schlumberger
(Geophysicist)
Conrad Schlumberger
0
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: October 2, 1878
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Guebwiller, France
Died: May 9, 1936

Along with his brother, Marcel Schlumberger, Conrad Schlumberger formed one of the most well-known geophysicist duos of Germany. A pioneer in petroleum production, he co-established Schlumberger Ltd., one of the world’s largest oil-field service companies, with Marcel. Their technique of oil exploration offered a cheap alternative than the existing coring methods.

 24 
Pierre Guillaume Frédéric le Play
(French Engineer, Sociologist and Economist Who Developed Techniques for Systematic Research on the Family)
Pierre Guillaume Frédéric le Play
0
Birthdate: April 11, 1806
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: La Rivière-Saint-Sauveur, France
Died: April 5, 1882
French mining engineer and sociologist, Pierre-Guillaume-Frédéric Le Play, developed techniques for systematic research on the family. Le Play's first important work, European Workers was a collection of monographs on the moral life and material conditions of 36 working-class families. He utilized the device of the family budget for the purpose of determining standards of living. 
 25 
Jacques Attali
(French Economic and Social Theorist and the First Head of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development)
Jacques Attali
3
Birthdate: November 1, 1943
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Algiers, Algeria

French economic and social theorist Jacques Attali was born in Algiers and later moved to Paris with his family. Apart from heading the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, he has established various non-profits and the EUREKA program. He has also penned books such as Labyrinth in Culture and Society.

 26 
Jean Bastien-Thiry
(French Aerospace Engineer)
Jean Bastien-Thiry
1
Listed In: Engineers
Birthdate: October 19, 1927
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Lunéville, France
Died: March 11, 1963

Jean Bastien-Thiry was a French engineer and military personnel whose assassination attempt on French President Charles de Gaulle cost him his life. The assassination attempt made international headlines and inspired a novel titled The Day of the Jackal, which was later adapted into a film. Before his treacherous infamy, Bastien-Thiry was credited with creating the Nord SS.10/SS.11 missiles.

 27 
Ion I. C. Brătianu
(Prime Minister of Romania Who Served for 5-Terms Between 1909 and 1927)
Ion I. C. Brătianu
1
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: August 20, 1864
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ștefănești, Romania
Died: November 24, 1927

Ion Ionel Constantin Brătianu served as Prime Minister of Romania for five-terms and played an instrumental role in unification of Old Romanian Kingdom with Transylvania, Bessarabia and Bukovina. He served as Foreign Minister of Romania. He led National Liberal Party (PNL) for over 18-years. He hailed from the influential Brătianu family of Romanian politicians, who dominated PNL throughout its existence.

 28 
Stefanie Stantcheva
(French Economist)
Stefanie Stantcheva
0
Birthdate: February 21, 1986
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bulgaria

Stefanie Stantcheva is a French economist currently working as a professor of economics at Harvard University. Her research mainly focuses on public finance, and she is a member of the French Council of Economic Analysis. She is an associate editor of the Journal of Political Economy and the American Economic Review. She received the Elaine Bennett Research Prize in 2020. 

 29 
Jean-Christophe Yoccoz
(Mathematician)
Jean-Christophe Yoccoz
1
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: May 29, 1957
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: September 3, 2016
 30 
Henry Darcy
(French Engineer Who Made Several Important Contributions to Hydraulics)
Henry Darcy
0
Listed In: Engineers
Birthdate: June 10, 1803
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Dijon, France
Died: January 3, 1858

French engineer Henry Darcy had a difficult childhood, having lost his father at 14. Raised by his mother, he later joined the École Polytechnique. He proposed Darcy’s law, which explains the flow of fluids in porous media. He also designed the water supply system of Dijon, his native city.

 31 
Jean-Marie Messier
(Businessman)
Jean-Marie Messier
1
Listed In: Business People
Birthdate: December 13, 1956
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Grenoble, France
 32 
Paul Bert
(French Physiologist Who is Referred to as the 'Father of Aviation Medicine')
Paul Bert
1
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: October 17, 1833
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Auxerre, France
Died: November 11, 1886

Paul Bert was a French physiologist, zoologist, and politician. Referred to as the Father of Aviation Medicine, Bert is best remembered for his 1878 work La Pression barometrique, which explains the physiological effects of air-pressure. Paul Bert is also credited with describing oxygen toxicity for the first time.

 33 
Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet
(Former Member of the National Assembly of France)
Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet
1
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: May 14, 1973
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Paris, France

Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet is a French engineer, advocate, and public figure. A former politician, Kosciusko-Morizet was a member of parliament and also served as the mayor of Longjumeau. In 2012, she also served as Nicolas Sarkozy's spokesperson during the latter's presidential reelection campaign.

 34 
Charles Fabry
(Physicist)
Charles Fabry
1
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: June 11, 1867
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Marseille, France
Died: December 11, 1945
 35 
Henry Louis Le Chatelier
(French Chemist Best Known for Developing 'Le Chatelier’s Principle')
Henry Louis Le Chatelier
1
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: October 8, 1850
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: September 17, 1936

French chemist Le Chatelier is most noted for his work on Le Chatelier's principle as also on varying solubility of salts in an ideal solution. The Le Chatelier's principle, which chemists and chemical engineers use for predicting the effect a changing condition, like temperature or pressure, has on a system in chemical equilibrium was devised by him.

 36 
Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber
(French Politician and Journalist)
Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber
0
Birthdate: February 13, 1924
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: November 7, 2006
 37 
Jean Léonard Marie Poiseuille
(French Physiologist and Physicist Best Remembered for Formulating and Publishing the 'Hagen–Poiseuille Equation')
Jean Léonard Marie Poiseuille
1
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: April 22, 1797
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: December 26, 1869

Jean Léonard Marie Poiseuille was a French physiologist and physicist. He is best remembered for formulating and publishing the Hagen–Poiseuille equation. Jean Léonard Marie Poiseuille came up with the equation after developing an interest in the flow of blood in capillaries and veins.

 38 
Bernard Courtois
(French Chemist Known for First Isolating 'Iodine')
Bernard Courtois
0
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: February 8, 1777
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Dijon, France
Died: September 27, 1838

Bernard Courtois was a French chemist. He is credited with isolating iodine and morphine. Interested in chemistry from a young age, he learned how to make potassium nitrate for gunpowder for the French Revolution. He later found work at the École Polytechnique in Paris. Later in life, he went into manufacturing high-quality iodine and its salts. 

 39 
Anselme Payen
(French Chemist Known for Discovering the 'Enzyme Diastase' and the Carbohydrate 'Cellulose')
Anselme Payen
1
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: January 6, 1795
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: May 12, 1871

French chemist Anselme Payen is known for co-discovering the first enzyme diastase, and for discovering the carbohydrate cellulose. He broke the Dutch monopoly for borax by developing a method to synthesize borax from soda and boric acid; developed a method to determine nitrogen and methods for refining sugar; and invented a decolorimeter.

 40 
Henri Victor Regnault
(French Chemist and Physicist Best Known for His Careful Measurements of the Thermal Properties of Gases)
Henri Victor Regnault
1
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: July 21, 1810
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Aix-la-Chapelle, France
Died: January 19, 1878

Noted French chemist and physicist Henri-Victor Regnault initially taught chemistry and then gained fame for his research on the thermal properties of gases. He lost both his laboratory and his son during the Franco-German War. His is one of the 72 names that adorn the Eiffel Tower.

 41 
Yves Carcelle
(Businessman)
Yves Carcelle
0
Listed In: Business People
Birthdate: May 18, 1948
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: August 31, 2014
 42 
Jacques Charles François Sturm
(French Mathematician)
Jacques Charles François Sturm
0
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: September 29, 1803
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Geneva, Switzerland
Died: December 15, 1855
Copley Medal-winning French mathematician Jacques Charles François Sturm contributed immensely to the theory of equations with his Sturm’s theorem. His research covered compressible fluids and the speed of sound in water. His is one of the 72 names engrave on the Eiffel Tower. An asteroid was named after him too.
 43 
Eugène Freyssinet
(French Structural and Civil Engineer Who Was the Major Pioneer of 'Prestressed Concrete')
Eugène Freyssinet
0
Listed In: Engineers
Birthdate: July 13, 1879
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Objat, Corrèze, France
Died: June 8, 1962

Remembered for designing numerous reinforced-concrete bridges across France, Eugène Freyssinet, an early twentieth century structural and civil engineer, was also one of the pioneers in the use of prestressed concrete. Among his most prestigious projects was the Plougastel Bridge over the Elorn River. With a total length of 888 meter, this was the largest reinforced-concrete bridge constructed till that time.  

 44 
Guillaume Henri Dufour
(Swiss Military Officer, Topographer, and Structural Engineer)
Guillaume Henri Dufour
1
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: September 15, 1787
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Konstanz, Germany
Died: July 14, 1875
 45 
Joseph Bertrand
(French Mathematician Known for His Elegant Applications of 'Differential Equations' to 'Analytical Mechanics')
Joseph Bertrand
0
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: March 11, 1822
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: April 5, 1900

Joseph Bertrand was a 19th-century French mathematician. He is remembered for his work in the fields of number theory, economics, differential geometry, probability theory,  and thermodynamics. A brilliant individual, he completed his Ph.D. with a thesis on the mathematical theory of electricity as a teenager. He was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.  

 46 
Étienne-Louis Malus
(Physicist)
Étienne-Louis Malus
1
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: July 23, 1775
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: February 24, 1812
 47 
Leon Charles Thevenin
(Engineer)
Leon Charles Thevenin
1
Listed In: Engineers
Birthdate: March 30, 1857
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Meaux, France
Died: September 21, 1926
 48 
Pierre Louis Dulong
(French Physicist and Chemist Who Helped Formulate the 'Dulong–Petit Law' of Specific Heats)
Pierre Louis Dulong
0
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: February 12, 1785
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Rouen, France
Died: July 19, 1838

French physicist and chemist Pierre Louis Dulong FRS FRSE is best-remembered for proposing the thermodynamic law called the Dulong–Petit law with fellow scientist Alexis Petit. Subjects of his scientific studies included the elasticity of steam, specific heats of gases and conduction of heat. He discovered nitrogen trichloride, worked on specific heat capacity, and expansion and refractive indices of gases.

 49 
Jules Dupuit
(French Engineer and Economist Who Was One of the First to Analyze the Cost-Effectiveness of Public Works)
Jules Dupuit
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Listed In: Engineers
Birthdate: May 18, 1804
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Fossano, Italy
Died: September 5, 1866

Nineteenth-century French civil engineer and economist Jules Dupuit ascertained the economic issues associated with public works. He pioneered the use of the diminishing marginal utility curve, while finding out the optimum cost for using a bridge, and also explained what later came to be known as consumer surplus.

 50 
Charles de Freycinet
(Former Prime Minister of France (1890 - 1892), Minister of War of France (1898 - 1899))
Charles de Freycinet
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Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: November 14, 1828
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Foix, Ariège, France
Died: May 14, 1923

Charles de Freycinet was a French statesman who served as the prime minister four times during the Third Republic. A member of the Opportunist Republicans faction, he also spent a term as the minister of war. An engineer by profession, he was an elected member of the Academy of Sciences. He also occupied a seat in the Académie française.