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The École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) is one of the two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology and is located in Lausannemarker, Switzerlandmarker. EPFL is ranked as Europe's number 1 and world's number 15 university in the field of "Engineering/Technology and Computer Sciences" in the academic ranking of world universities (ARWU) by Shanghai Jiao Tong University . The EPFL is in the heart of Europe and is one of Europe's leading institutions of science and technology. EPFL is often cited as Europe's MIT due to its scientific and technological research advances.

The school was founded by the Swiss Federal Government with the stated mission to:
  • Educate engineers and scientists
  • Be a national center of excellence in science and technology
  • Provide a hub for interaction between the scientific community and industry

The sister institution in the German-speaking part of Switzerland is the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETH Zürichmarker or ETHZ). Associated with several specialised research institutes, the two sister institutes form the ETH Domain, which is directly dependent on the Federal Department of Home Affairs.


Founded in 1853 as a private school under the name École Spéciale de Lausanne, it became the technical department of the public Académie de Lausanne in 1869. When the latter was reorganized and acquired the status of a university in 1890, the technical faculty changed its name to École d'Ingénieurs de l'Université de Lausanne. In 1946, it was renamed the École Polytechnique de l'Université de Lausanne (EPUL).

In 1969, the EPUL was separated from the rest of the University of Lausanne and became a federal institute under its current name. The EPFL, like the ETHZ, is thus directly controlled by the Swiss federal government. In contrast, all other universities in Switzerland are controlled by their respective cantonal governments.

The EPFL operates a nuclear reactor, CROCUSmarker, a Tokamak fusion reactor, and P3 bio-hazard facilities. Following the nomination of Patrick Aebischer as president in 2000, EPFL has started to develop into the field of life sciences. It will absorb the ISREC (Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research) by 2008.


Aerial view of the EPFL campus
Originally, the EPFL was in the center of Lausanne. In 1978, the EPFL moved to its new campus in Ecublensmarker, a suburb south-west of Lausanne on the shores of Lake Genevamarker. In 2002, the department of architecture also moved to the campus in Ecublens. This united all departments of the EPFL on the same site.


The campus consists of about 65 buildings on 136 acres. Built according to the growth of the school, the campus includes different types of architectures:
  • Late 70s-80s: modularized building, used today by the Schools of Basic Sciences and Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
  • 90s: buildings with institutes from the Schools of Engineering Sciences and Techniques, Computer and Communication Sciences, and the Scientific Park (PSE)
  • Modern: new buildings (2002-2004) with Microengineering, Communications and Architecture institutes and the School of Life Sciences

The EPFL and the nearby University of Lausannemarker share an active sports center five minutes away from the EPFL campus on the shores of the Lake Geneva.


Facilities are available on the campus for the students and staff:
  • Libraries:
    • Central Library (EPF-BC)
    • Architecture (EPF-DA)
    • Centre de documentation sur l'environnement construit (EPF-CEDEC)
    • Centre de recherches en physique des plasmas (EPF-CRPP)
    • Center of Research and Support of Training and its Technologies (EPF-CRAFT)
    • Chemistry (BISCOM)
    • Computer and Communication Sciences (EPF-IC)
    • Laboratoire de Topométrie (EPF-TOP)
    • Laboratory for Intermodality, Transport and Planning (EPF-LITEP)
    • Rolex Learning Center
    • Materials Sciences (EPF-BIMX)
    • Mathematics (EPF-DMA)
    • Physics (EPF-PHY)
  • Restaurant:
    • Le Copernic
  • Cafeterias:
    • La Coupole
    • Le Corbusier
    • Le Parmentier
    • Le Vinci
    • BMX (Bâtiment des Matériaux)
    • BC (Bâtiment des Communications)
    • L'Arcadie
  • Bar:
    • Satellite
  • Travel agencies
    • Swiss Federal Railroad
    • STA Travel
  • Banks:
  • Radio
    • Fréquence Banane Student radio


The EPFL is organised into seven schools, themselves formed of institutes that group research units (laboratories or chairs) around common themes.

The EPFL is constituted of the following Schools:

Students and traditions

Several music festivals are held yearly at EPFL. The most important one, Balelec, organized in May, proposes about 30 concerts and welcomes 18,000 visitors.

Other smaller festivals include Sysmic organized in April by the students of the Department of Microengineering, hosting two stages for local and national bands, and Artiphys, organized by the students of the Physics Department.

EPFL maintains several long-standing student exchange programs, such as the junior year engineering and science program with Carnegie Mellon Universitymarker in the United States, as well as a graduate Aeronautics and Aerospace program with the ISAE in France.


In 1946, there were 360 students at the EPFL. In 1969, the EPFL numbered 1,400 students and 55 professors. The university continued to grow rapidly, and in 2002, there were 5,872 students enrolled.

In 2004 there are more than 9000 people at the EPFL. About 6000 of these are students, with the remainder consisting of professors, assistants and even entrepreneurs located in the Parc Scientifique of the EPFL. There are over 100 nationalities at the EPFL, with over 50% of the teaching staff coming from outside of Switzerland.

In the year 2009-2010, there is over 7000 students on the campus.

The EPFL have acted as advisors for the Alinghi project, leading to a success at the America's Cup in New Zealand in 2003 and in Valenciamarker in 2007. The EPFL is also developing a sun-powered glider, Solar Impulse, designed to be completely autonomous (capable of circumnavigation). Bertrand Piccard is the intended pilot for the demonstration of the glider. There is also a sensor network installed in the I&C building called SensorScope which reports live temperature and light measurements.

The EPFL holds the only nuclear reactor of the French-speaking part of Switzerland, CROCUSmarker.

Notable alumni

Notable Professors


Image:EPFL_Piccard_avenue.jpg|A view of the Piccard Avenue.Image:EPFL_CE.jpg|Inner corridors in the East CenterImage:EPFL_Stalingrad_1.jpg|SG PlaceImage:EPFL_Stalingrad_2.jpg|SG PlaceImage:Biowall 2.jpg|the "Biowall"Image:EPFL BC.jpg|BC BuildingImage:EPFL BC Inside.jpg|BC Building Inside

Image:EPFL Esplanade.jpg|The Esplanade

Partner universities

EPFL has 179 partner universities around the globe.




See also


  1. - partner institutions

External links

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