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 +

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Pioneer 10 anomaly and Ainan's explanation

Pioneer 10 is a space probe, launched in 1972, and is now at the outer edge of the solar system. Unfortunately, it is not where it should be. It has been experiencing an unknown force yielding an acceleration of approximately one nanometre per second per second. I mentioned this to Ainan the other day and his immediate response was: : "Photon pressure from the sun is making it accelerate."

Now that is a very reasonable suggestion and is one that has been considered. There is a complication however - when I told him about the situation, I did not know that the acceleration was sunward. Yet, given the information he knew, Ainan's suggestion is most reasonable.

In fact, Ainan's suggestion is one that has been considered by professional scientists - and rejected, along with all the other possible suggestions. It remains an unsolved problem.

What is interesting, however, is that Ainan is very quick to arrive at an explanation, from known science, to problems suggested to him: it shows that not only is he able to learn science quickly, but apply it to new situations too. He is also able to invent new situations and new science - but I have to keep that private for I am unable to protect his ideas if I discuss them here.

(If you would like to read more about Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged seven years and three weeks, 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 @ 11:38 AM 


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