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, March 31, 2007

Raffles Institution welcome Ainan

The Raffles Institution welcomed Ainan, seven, yesterday to discuss how they might be able to help his educational development.

For those overseas, the Raffles Institution and its sister, Raffles Junior College, form one of Singapore's most revered educational institutions. It is, of course, named after Stamford Raffles, who founded Singapore on the 6th February 1819. It is a boys only school, that caters exclusively for teenagers and selects only the top 3 % of students. What does this mean? Well, for those who know that moderate giftedness corresponds to a prevalence of 1 in 44, it is clear that almost everyone at Raffles Institution and Raffles Junior College, will prove to be gifted - moderately, at least, with many of them much more, of course.

We met Theresa Lai and Dr. Jeffrey Lee Pheng Guan (Head of the Science Department).

I will describe their attitude rather than the contents of their suggestions, lest I jeopardize the initiatives that they would like to put in place. They proved to be excited, open, interested in helping Ainan, insightful as to his needs, willing to be flexible in order to help - and most of all, deeply convinced of the need to react to the situation in a customized manner. They understood that Ainan's prodigious nature required a special response - they understood that doing nothing would prove harmful. I was very pleased at their attitudes. Not with them, was the tendency to throw up barriers, present. Not a once did they say: "That can't be done." or "We don't have the resources." (for which would read: "We don't want to deploy the resources."). Not once did they harp on difficulties of any kind. They instead focussed on Ainan's needs and how they could meet them. This was all very refreshing and provided a marked contrast to the attitudes of some others we have encountered.

The meeting was brief, focussed, to the point - and action oriented.

They resolved, by the end, to help in whatever way they could - and one way was to try to find a mentor, for Ainan - a scientist, somewhere in Singapore, who would help Ainan grow, with the dedication he deserves.

Now, if they succeed in finding such a person, it would be time for celebration indeed. Thank you Raffles for an inspiring meeting.

The introduction was made by the Gifted Education Programme, so thanks to them, too.

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 8:12 AM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh wow. Amazing. It sounds like a dream come true. :)

Its so nice to see gifted kids getting what they need for once.

Refreshing story! Thanks. :)

- Kathy

12:23 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thanks, Kathy.

Yes it is good...but it has been a long journey so far and promises to be a long one ahead, too.

Best wishes

1:47 PM  
Blogger Howard said...

I am regarding the equation that Ainan was excited about in your previous post .
Could you tell me what he wanted you to tell him about the equation e^i(pi) = -1 ?

I am very interested in Ainan .
I will give more details about me later on .

9:56 PM  
Blogger Howard said...

I would like to add more on the identity .
The equation e^i(pi) + 1 = 0 is named as the Euler's Identity and it is also known as one of the most elegant equation in analysis .
A simple demonstration is as follows.
We know the formula , which states that

e^ix = cos x + i sin x ----- ( 1 )

Subsituting pi into x from ( 1 ) ,

We find that :

e^i(pi) = cos pi + i sin pi

cos pi =~ 0
i sin pi =~ -1

Hence ,

e^i(pi) = -1

e^i(pi) + 1 = -1 + 1 = 0

It is known for it's mathematical beauty because of it's simplicity and elegance .

10:18 PM  
Blogger Erlisa said...

I'm so so happy for Ainan!

I think the recent media exposure sure did him good, huh! I'm really, really excited for him!

Blog more!!! I can't wait what's coming up next for Ainan!!!

12:17 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Ainan found it fascinating that a number raised to an imaginary power should be negative. I think he wanted me to expand on this with him. I was - and am - unable to do so, since I don't have the maths background necessary. If he is to pursue an interest in maths, I will either have to do some real sweating to teach myself maths - or he will have to find someone else to help. We will see.

Maths is a new interest for Ainan (apart from geometric form which goes back about four years now) we will see how it develops. It is something he is discovering for himself.

9:09 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Perhaps Ainan is sensitive to that elegance and beauty in maths, as he has already shown himself to be in the physical sciences.

I don't really know why that equatoin so excited him, but he virtually jumping when he showed it to me: it had really got to him. I suppose such an ability to be excited at a mathematical statement is a good sign. He might develop it as one of his skillsets then. We will see.

Thanks for your interest in Ainan.

I would add that he is JUST beginning to explore maths. When Ainan begins to explore something he does it himself. This is distinct from being taught in school. He goes further by himself, faster. So it is a good sign that he has decided to begin exploring it himself.

Best wishes

9:13 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Yes Erlisa. It has helped Ainan to get known a bit. In his case it is necessary because we don't have the necessary connections in the scientific and educational community to help Ainan as he needs. This way, we are beginning to open the doors he needs opened if he is to progress.

Perhaps other people in other circumstances would not need media exposure to make headway. Ainan does, in our situation - because we don't naturally have access to the right doors. It is a great step forward for Ainan therefore.

Thanks for your supportive comment and I am glad that you enjoy my blog.

Best wishes to you

9:16 AM  

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