The French edition of this book was first published in 1997 by Pres
Universitaires de France in a series called "Que sais-je?" (What d
know?) alluding to Michel de Montaigne's own questioning. The
ries, which was devised from the start as a paperback encycloped
contains to date about 3500 titles, each book consisting of exac
27 = 128 pages. The topics cover all subjects: law, science, phil
ophy, art, history, etc. Amongst these there are only a few boo
discussing mathematics.
The editorial policy is rather unusual and worth mentioni
When an author dies, or simply loses interest in revising his mon
graph, the publisher asks a new specialist to write a book on
same subject, with the same title and the same number in the seri
Apart from these constraints, no specific directive is imposed on
new author, who is therefore free to treat the matter according to
own conception of the subject.
In 1953, Emile Borel wrote a first version of Les nombres premi
and died three years later. Jean Itard wrote a second version in 19
and died ten years later. We, the new authors, published ours in 19
and, as far as we know, we seem to be in good health... And we dea
hope our book will last a long time!
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