The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Singaporean Public Education: Science Show In The Mall

Last Sunday, Ainan Celeste Cawley, six and Fintan Nadym Cawley, three, enjoyed something rather unusual: a science show in a shopping mall, in Singapore.

Singapore is a very competitive nation. One of their major areas of competition is science. In an effort to bring science to the people (since the people may not come to the science), the Science Centre of Singapore, organized a form of travelling science: Science at the Mall. What this involves is rather simple, but effective. It is, in effect, a theatrical show based around a scientific theme, and it takes place in the atrium of a shopping mall. Two performers, on stage, would take the audience through various experiments, in an entertaining manner, slipping them a gentle dose of science along the way. This was science as entertainment: nothing hard, just good, easy fun. It is an interesting marketing of science, actually, to make it into not a cerebral activity, but an entertaining one.

Alongside the daily shows - repeated throughout the day - were a set of activities for the children. This allowed the parents - us - to leave our children for a couple of hours, to shop in peace, while they busied themselves with scientific play. There were also several machine based demonstrations that the children could interact with. The subject of the day was materials science - and the machines demonstrated various aspects of materials: impact hardness, flame testing on burning, properties of friction - etc. All of it was already familiar to Ainan but I think he enjoyed seeing it in the context of a shopping mall, and being able to do it with his younger brother, Fintan, for whom it was new.

All this took place in United Square shopping centre (quite a pleasant place). The event was sponsored by AStar - the Singaporean Agency for Science, Technology and Research; Dupont (they provided special glass for a demonstration of glass that would not shatter into many pieces); and the Science Centre of Singapore.

The children seemed to enjoy it as most stayed for several hours, interacting with the exhibits, watching shows, making ionic structures and playing with science.

(If you would like to read about the scientific child prodigy, Ainan Celeste Cawley, six and his gifted brothers, please go to: for a tour. I also write of gifted children, gifted adults, child prodigy, child genius, savant - in particular mathematical savant - and the creatively gifted, among others.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 11:24 AM 


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