Established during the French Revolution, the École Polytechnique is both an institution of higher learning in engineering, and a research establishment. Its foundation constituted the appearance of a new type of scientific institution, inspired by Enlightenment figures whose influence in the 19th century was considerable. Though its scientific importance has waned in the 20th century, it continues to play a notable role in French scientific life. There is an abundant historical literature on the École, which dates from just after its foundation in 1794 and has continued ever since. During the past 20 years, the historiography of the École has been profoundly renovated, first by English-language, and more recently by French, historians.