Talk:École normale supérieure (Paris)

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I think it would be clearer to make an article for ENS as a whole and one about ENS (Ulm) since some things in the article are True for all ENS (eg studies) but other apply to Ulm (introduction, alumni).

Was Bourdieu ever professor at ENS? He was a professor at the Collège de France, though, but ENS? David.Monniaux 08:51, 18 May 2004 (UTC)

No, you're right. He was agrégé there but apparently taught at the Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales. I guess I conflated the two. OK, I'll go remove the edit and put him in "famous normaliens." j.s.f. 22:20, 18 May 2004 (UTC)

I agree it would be clearer to have a specific page for the ENS Ulm, and probably keep this one for information relevant to all four ENS. - Aridd, Oct. 12, 2005.

On the other hand, only Ulm is called the "École normale supérieure" period, the other ones are " Lyon", " Cachan", etc. Maybe we could have "École normale supérieure (Ulm)" and "Écoles normales supérieures", with "École normale supérieure" being simply a disambiguification page? --Gro-Tsen 16:44, 14 October 2005 (UTC)

Évariste Galois never got to ENS. Take a look at the McTutor site for exemple.

He entered the ENS in 1829, taking the word both of every single biography of Galois I've ever read and of the official directory of ENS alumni (I just checked). And MacTutor does not say the contrary. You may be misunderstanding the sentence “Galois therefore resigned himself to enter the École Normale”, which means that he did enter the École Normale (what he resigned himself not to enter was the École Polytechnique). --Gro-Tsen 08:42, 1 January 2006 (UTC)
I removed Évariste Galois from the list because he never got to ENS. "In 1828 he attempted the entrance exam to École Polytechnique, without the usual preparation in mathematics, and failed. In that same year, he entered the École préparatoire, a far inferior institution for mathematical studies, where he did find some professors sympathetic to him.", this is from the article about Galois from Wikipedia and it complies with what I read about him.
The ecole preparatoire was a substitute for the ENS that had been suppressed during the Restauration period. (At that time, the ENS was inferior to polytechnique.)--2514 12:59, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

Fields medalists[edit]

Should Grothendieck be on that list? He began studies at ENS but left and completed his PhD elsewhere. On the other hand, he wasn't exactly French.

I would say no — at least, not in the main list. It might be mentioned that both Grothendieck and Deligne attended courses at the ENS, but neither can be counted as a French fields medalist (Deligne is Belgian and Grothendieck was stateless at least for some time) nor as an ENS alumnus. --Gro-Tsen 12:28, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
The ENS does not deliver degrees, so any student who went to the ENS, even for a year, can be considered as an ENS alumnus (the alumni refered to themselves as ancients élèves de l'ENS - former students of ENS - not as graduated from ENS). 18:12, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

Beginning last year (in 2006), the ENS (at least Ulm) now confers degrees. --ponyboy 05:40, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

Ecole normale supérieure[edit]

Note that the official name of the Ulm establishment is "École normale supérieure", not "École normale supérieure de Paris" or "École normale supérieure de la rue d'Ulm". However, because of the awkward situation of having other establishments called ENS-Lyon etc., people often call it merely "Ulm" or "ENS-Ulm". David.Monniaux 17:53, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

French Science?[edit]

Why has the French Science box been added to this page and given such prominence? The ENS is very implicated in letters, not just science. Furthermore, the French Science box seems to present this page as representing all the ENSes, whereas this page is an article about the ENS at the rue d'Ulm only.

-- MyPOV (talk) 22:50, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Double article[edit]

What about École_normale_supérieure? --Saippuakauppias 11:21, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

École normale supérieure deals with all the ENS like École normale supérieure (France) in the french version of Wikipédia. École Normale Supérieure deals with the ENS Ulm ( École normale supérieure (rue d'Ulm — Paris) in french). In french when you talk of Normal sup, you usually refer to the ENS Ulm, because it's the oldest ones and the most famous. Yves-Laurent (talk) 07:50, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

Undergraduates, ranking[edit]

The page lists the ENS as having no undergraduates. This is misleading. There are essentially two kinds of students at ENS -

  • élèves, entering the school at L3 level, and exiting at M2 level. In North American terms, this corresponds to entering as a junior or senior (having done the first two years at a classe préparatoire), and leaving with a master's. According to Wikipedia, there are 900 élèves currently; they enter by a highly selective contest. They generally live on campus (or in an off-campus dorm).

[There's also the aggrégation, but let's leave that out for the moment.]

  • étudiants, or doctoral students. An élève may stay as an étudiant (if he or she finds a supervisor); an étudiant can also have done his or her first degree or master's elsewhere.

It's pretty clear that we have a division here corresponding roughly to 'undergraduate' and 'graduate', though with a two-year shift. The info box should reflect this division.

Now, as for the famous or infamous world rankings. To judge in part from other Wikipedia pages, these are taken seriously by (a) second-tier Anglo-Saxon institutions that do better in them than they expect, (b) masochistic French politicians. (The rankings aren't used much in the US - in fact, in top institutions, people seem to find them silly and fake, in the rare ocassions they are aware of them.) It is my opinion that they should be omitted from the leading paragraphs - their classification of ENS as the best school in continental europe would be omitted as well, of course, for consistency.

If the rankings are mentioned elsewhere, they should be given with plenty of context. These rankings privilege (a) size, (b) institutions organised according to Anglo-American lines. In many ways, the sensible thing to compare ENS to is not, say, the University of Cambridge, but rather Trinity. If Trinity College were ranked on its own, by people completely unfamiliar with the way the Oxbridge college system works, then... (talk) 11:35, 8 December 2011 (UTC)

There's a misunderstanding here - the étudiants are not doctoral students, but students admitted to the ENS outside of the main entrance route, the national concours. However, academically they have the same program as the élèves (no two-year gap here), meaning that they start at the L3 (or sometimes M1) level. There *are* in fact doctoral students attached to the ENS, but they are outside of the étudiant-élève dichotomy. Furthermore, only few doctoral students are formally attached to the ENS; they might work in a lab that is part of the ENS, but could be registered at one of the nearby universities. Logosun (talk) 23:25, 14 June 2013 (UTC)


As of this week, the ENS has a new logo, see I think it'd be a useful edit if someone experienced could replace the old one appearing on this page. Logosun (talk) 17:20, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

Modifications November 2014[edit]

As I have made many modifications to the article over the last few days, I have thought it best to give a recap of what I have done and explain my method.

-I created the 'History' section, mainly with the help of the corresponding article in the French wikipedia. It is still incompletely referenced. I think we should add the reference books about the history of ENS to a new 'references' section, like is the case on the French wikipedia article.

-I removed the 'Overview' segment, which was a disorganised repeat of the summary section at the top of the page. I replaced it with an 'Organisation' section, with separate sub-sections about sites, recruitment, divisions and libraries.

-The 'Affiliations' and 'Influence abroad' section were very incomplete, I replaced them with the 'Domestic and foreign networks' section, whose title I admit is not too good. I created three sub-sections within this section: affiliations, domestic partnerships, international partnerships; this again mainly with help from the article on the French wikipedia.

-There was a quasi-empty section called 'Free online content' which contained only two rather heterogeneous sentences about the online platform and the Presses de l'ENS. I removed this section and replaced it with a 'Public face' section (again the title is not perfect), with three sub-sections: online and book publishing, the ENS foundation, and rankings/reputation. The first two's content came especially from the French wikipedia once again. The last sub-section I filled with what I had removed from the summary header at the top of the page, as rankings do not in my mind have their place in the header (I checked on most of the big university pages, such as University of Oxford, and found that indeed most often a specific sub-section was written to accomodate them).

-Finally, there was a bogus section called 'Alumni and faculty', which just featured a link to the List of École Normale Supérieure people page. I replaced this section with a 'Notable alumni' section like in other university pages, and wrote the section from scratch basing myself on what I saw was written for other universities.

Referencing is still ongoing. (talk) 11:52, 22 November 2014 (UTC)