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 +

Friday, December 08, 2006

Molecular designer: a chemical genius at work

Ainan Celeste Cawley is seven years old and two weeks, yet last week, he sat himself down and designed his own homologous series of chemicals. This is a series of chemicals with shared characteristics, and which vary across the series in an orderly fashion. He had a particular purpose in mind for these chemicals, which I am not going to divulge - each would perform the stated purpose.

He drew the chemical molecular structure on A4 paper and showed how the members of the series varied across the series by drawing several examples of his series.

It is clear to me that his chemicals would work in the prescribed way: they would perform the function he desired. The structures, too, were correct.

It seems to me an unusual demonstration of the scientific imagination for a seven year old, just turned, to be designing his own chemicals. His creations are viable chemical entities that would have the properties he intends. He often draws chemicals and has been doing so this past year. Yet, this was the first time, I saw him draw an homologous series.

I do not know what he will become - but I can say what he is: a boy who plays with science, as others do with toys, a boy whose ideas are functional aspects of chemical reality, a boy who does what only an adult scientist might be expected to do - to look for new answers to problems, as he has done in this series.

He has many interests. Perhaps one of his interests foreshadows what he will become. If he becomes a designer of molecules, this post would have pinned down the time in which it began.

Happy thinking Ainan!

(If you would like to read more about Ainan Celeste Cawley, my scientific child prodigy son, aged seven years and two weeks, or his gifted brothers, then 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 @ 11:40 AM 


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