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 +

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Ainan's memory for molecular structure

Ainan has the habit of drawing molecules. There are two categories: the ones he reads of somewhere, and the ones he invents.

The molecules Ainan draws are now very complex. They contain anywhere from dozens to hundreds of atoms. He draws them with each atom labelled and each bond drawn. What I find uncanny is his retention for this information. For most people, the molecules would simply be too complex to hold in mind, at one time - yet Ainan need only study a molecule briefly, before he is able to reproduce the structure, later, from memory.

I suppose that his memory for molecules could be seen as analogous to some musicians' memory for music: they hold in their minds thousands of pieces of music. So, too, is it with Ainan - but what he remembers is molecular structure.

It has not passed me by that this absorption of structures may lead to interesting developments later. For, it is only when one has internalized a great body of knowledge about a subject - and made it one's own - that one can make evolutionary or revolutionary changes to that body of knowledge. Ainan is building for himself a very deep understanding of the molecular world - and yet he is only seven years and three months old. I don't know where it will lead him - but that there are interesting places it could take him, is clear.

This is just the beginning of his growth: I feel a quiet excitement when I watch him at work - an excitement at what might come of all of this.

(If you would like to read more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, please go to: I also write of child prodigy, child genius, adult genius, baby genius, gifted education, IQ, intelligence, savant, the creatively gifted, gifted adults and gifted children in general. Thanks.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 10:22 AM 


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