Didier Nordon
À bas le savoir !

Down with Knowledge




Didier Nordon is interested in the interactions between science and society. Not only the author of Bloc-notes (Notebooks) in the magazine Pour la science (For science) and mathematics professor at the University of Bordeaux 1, he is also the author of many works amongst which figure Des cailloux dans les choses sûres (Stones in things we believe to be certain), Deux et deux font-ils quatre? (Do two and two really make four?) and Les obstinations d'un mathématicien (Obstinacies of a mathematician) published by Belin, a collection of short stories and Au cirque (At the circus), published by L'Improviste. He has also written for young people for the Ratatouille collection (Autrement), Le chocolat, ça craque; Les épinards, ça rouille; Les œufs, ça brouille; La soupe, ça chatouille (Chocolate snaps; Spinach rusts; Eggs scramble; Soup tickles).


"Horrified at the prospect of being bored, I chose mathematics. Horrified at the prospect of being bored, I gave it up..."

Every day, in every domain, amazing progress is being made and we are vociferously glad about it. Knowledge, of course, is improving our material lives. Furthermore it is excellent entertainment. But we endow it with the liberating virtues that it does not possess and we refuse to see its alienating aspects.

Ethical problems are getting worse as biology invents new procedures. The race for knowledge furthers the multiplication of obedient specialists. Obsessed by competition, they ask questions specific to their speciality, and in doing so neither question its meaning nor put its social role into perspective.

Didier Nordon, using all the detachment he can when writing in the first person, treats with finesse the down side imposed upon us by the explosion of knowledge. This is required reading for all those who are interested in mathematics, solitude, philosophy, unkindness, stupidity and ethics.


Quentin Faucompré
April 14, 2005
Grand format
13 x 18 cm
Original language
Original parution date

Digital reading copy