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 +

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Ainan and the molecules that may never be

As I have written before, Ainan Celeste Cawley, my seven year old son, likes to design molecules. Yesterday he approached me with the air of someone about to discuss a delicate matter.

"Daddy, you know I like to make up molecules?"


"There is only one problem with my molecules, though they are new, and they have not been made before...there may be no way to synthesise them. Unless, they are found in nature."

Ainan's molecules were often very complex, quite large molecules of a curiously beautiful design: they were proposed parts of nature, designed by an artist. It would be a pity if Ainan's molecules, which are possible in theory, since they obey the laws of physics and chemistry, could never be constructed, owing to practical limitations of man's synthetic ability.

It was good to see that Ainan was not only thinking of molecules with a purpose and a function - but that he was also thinking of the practicalities of how they might be made. His mind was occupied by both the invented molecule and its synthetic route.

I had to agree with him, though...they might be unsynthesizable, by present means, or at least very difficult to synthesize - unless nature had a hand in it, with its more complex ways.

We did an internet search for some of his molecules - but didn't manage to find them. So, we had original molecules on paper, that might have no real world counterpart, at present, in the modern world. Pretty to look at though.

(If you would like to read more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, my scientific child prodigy son, aged seven years and one month, or his gifted brothers, please go to: I also write of child prodigy, child genius, adult genius, savant, the creatively gifted, gifted adults and gifted children in general. Thanks.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 11:21 AM 


Blogger Jason Jones said...


I'm curious - what does your son use to model his molecules?

My son uses ball bearings and magnetic sticks. The sticks are set length and therefore limit the building of the molecules. We're looking for alternatives.


6:22 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Hi Jason

My son has used the apparatus you described and, like you and your son, found that it has limitations. So, instead of building them in that way, he has taken to drawing them. If you are good with a pen and paper, there are no real limits to rendering in paper what a molecule would look like.

There may be more ideal equipment for doing this - but he is happy with drawing them. He finds paper the most versatile way to express his ideas.

Best wishes to you and your son.

6:59 PM  

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