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Des ingénieurs pour un monde nouveau

Histoire des enseignements électrotechniques (Europe, Amériques) – XIXe–XXe siècle

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Edited By Marcela Efmertová and André Grelon

À partir des années 1880, l’électricité est progressivement devenue une technologie centrale, qui va procurer des biens et assurer des services nouveaux, bouleversant ainsi la production industrielle, l’économie et les pratiques sociales et culturelles. De confidentiel, son usage ne cessera de s’étendre, devenant massif et planétaire, et aujourd’hui indispensable jusqu’aux détails de la vie quotidienne. Pour fonder et déployer un système de production, de transport et de distribution efficaces de l’électricité dans tous les pays, pour concevoir, fabriquer et diffuser les machines, outils et objets divers fonctionnant par ce moyen, en somme pour former un monde nouveau, il faut former un corps de techniciens spécialisés : ce seront les ingénieurs électriciens, pour lesquels seront élaborés et mis en œuvre des cursus dédiés. Cet ouvrage retrace la naissance et la croissance de ces formations, à partir de la fin du XIXe siècle, en Europe et sur le continent américain, et leur rôle dans le développement des différents États. Issu des travaux d’un colloque international tenu à Prague, il rassemble les contributions de 28 historiens portant sur 15 pays.

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André GRELON

Director of Studies, School of Advanced Studies in Social SciencesMaurice Halbwachs Centre, Parisandre.grelon@ens.fr, andre.grelon@ehess.fr

This work reports on proceedings at the international colloquium (A progressively connected world – Electrical engineers in European society during the 19th and 20th centuries) held on 10th, 11th and 12th May 2010 at the Polytechnic University of Prague, with the support of the E.D.F. Foundation, to mark the 60th anniversary of the Electricity Faculty at this university, and concerning the international history of training in electricity and electrotechnology and the role of electrical engineers in the 19th and 20th centuries. Although the present work collects the majority of papers presented on this occasion, each of the authors present has been asked to review and rework their text, in order to make it a chapter of a collected and coordinated work.

The 19th century was marked by the progressive transformation of electricity from an object of laboratory studies, as an emerging branch of physics, itself a flourishing discipline, into an independent field of research and education from the 1880s onwards. At the same time, these theoretical works and experiments began to give rise to practical applications, specifically the development of telegraphy in the 1840s, electroplating in the 1860s, and early developments in electric lighting.

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