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, April 15, 2007

Ainan's gum arabic flow experiment

Ainan is an incessant experimenter. He never ceases to engage with the world in an experimental manner, testing it, learning about it, studying it in an active, responsive manner. This, however, is something I have come to be used to. It is the daily background of our life with Ainan. What ever manages to amaze me, however, is the degree of control he exerts over nature in his experiments: he seems to have an instinct for what to do to achieve the end he desires.

I will give you an example. About a month ago, Ainan had in his possession something he called: "Gum arabic". Where he got it from I do not know. Yet, he had some. I didn't know anything about this substance so he decided to show me something which he believed he could do with it.

He took the gum arabic in his hand and pinched it with his fingers so that it formed a dumbell shape - two spheres connected by a bridge. He then stretched it out so that the bridge became longer - yet it remained connected. He placed one end of the dumbell at the base of a door, sticking it to the surface of the door - the other he stretched until it was high up and held it there.

"Watch." he said, knowing what would happen but not telling me.

Before my eyes the "gum arabic" flowed down from the upper dumbell to the lower, along the bridge that still had not broken. This surprised me because the bridge was about one and a quarter metres long at this point. The material flowed continuously, the bridge becoming hair thin - perhaps thinner - but still it flowed and didn't break. As I watched the upper dumbell flowed down into the lower one - and, despite the greatly stretched nature of the bridge, it remained unbroken throughout.

This moment is typical of Ainan's gift for experimental interaction with the world. He seems to understand the properties of substances very well and knows how to relate to them to achieve his end - however unlikely those ends might be. Perhaps what I see here is the foundation of an experimental scientist to come, one who will, one day, engage with the world in new ways, with new results that advance whichever science he eventually chooses to contribute to.

(If you would like to read more Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged seven years and four months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, three and Tiarnan, fourteen months, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, creatively gifted, gifted adults and gifted children in general. Thanks.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 4:54 PM 


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