|Chapter 3:||Dupin’s Work and Contributions in His Early Years|
Nevertheless, Dupin’s father, always so very sceptical about his second son, wrote to his number one son on 15 July 1818,
There is probably some truth in the observations of Dupin’s father, although he was generally prejudiced against Charles. Charles had concentrated his attention on the sciences, and there were gaps in his knowledge of grammar. He had been long absorbed by his engineering work, and in his many papers, technical considerations took precedence over style. It is on his work as a mathematician, scientist, naval engineer, and educator that I shall concentrate in the following sections, although more will be said of his literary interests.
Charles’s scientific career began when his studies at the Orléans école centrale (the Orléans central school) equipped him for entry to the Ecole polytechnique at the age of just seventeen (an X, 1801). His year of entry was to provide other savants, the physicist and chemist Pierre-Louis. Dulong (1765–1838) and the geometer O. Terquem among them; Antoine Marie Augoyat, Dupin’s great friend, was also a first-class civil engineer.
What was the Ecole polytechnique at this time? There are many misconceptions about it, the worst being that it was a creation of Napoleon Bonaparte.
3.2. The Origins and Early Years of the Ecole Polytechnique
The original idea for the creation of a school to provide a systematic education for all types of engineers may be attributed to J. E. Lamblardie (1747–1797), the director of the Ecole des ponts et chaussées. The chemist Antoine François Fourcroy (1755–1809) produced the report that resulted in the creation of the Ecole centrale des travaux publics,