Prony and industrialisation (1798-1847)
In 1798, Gaspard Riche de Prony took over as director. Until 1839, he concentrated on remodelling the old curricula to establish a rational link with the education received by students at Polytechnique.
This new École des Ponts got off to a somewhat tricky start, especially as the First Empire was a period of intense activity, marked by the rebuilding of the road network, which had deteriorated during the Revolution, and by a concentration on major hydraulics projects.
Several engineers took part in the process: Barré de Saint-Venant, Belgrand, Biot, Cauchy, Coriolis, Dupuit, Fresnel, Gay-Lussac, Navier, Vicat. The pace of work increased, the complexity of the tasks grew and the School took some 20 years to adjust its education to the needs of the industrial era and to a more mobile society. In parallel, the year 1831 saw the creation of the School’s first laboratory and the first issue of the Annales des Ponts et Chaussées.