The École des sciences appliquées aux arts et à l’industrie was founded in 1873 to meet the needs of the industrial revolution. Officially recognized by the provincial government three years later, the teaching establishment was then named École Polytechnique de Montréal. The first francophone engineering school in America, Polytechnique was annexed to the Arts Faculty of Université Laval in 1887. In 1895, Polytechnique was incorporated and given administrative and financial autonomy based on a provincial charter. When Université de Montréal obtained a charter in 1920, École Polytechnique was affiliated with the university without giving up its autonomous status.
The bee is generally understood to evoke the planned and organized work of the engineer. The I-beam probably represents the first engineering discipline taught at Polytechnique Montréal: civil engineering. The notched wheel suggests the industrial boom in the late 19th century in which engineers played a major role. Lastly, the laurel wreaths symbolize excellence.
The emblem is accompanied by the motto Ut tensio sic vis, taken from a law of physics called Hooke’s law. Its technical translation means that the force needed to extend or compress a spring by some distance is proportional to that distance. In the figurative sense, it means that results are proportional to effort. An edifying and inspiring motto for everyone at Polytechnique!
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