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 +

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A quiet trip to NTU, Singapore

Today Ainan enjoyed a quiet trip to the Nanyang Technological University. This is a more relaxed sequel to his first visit, which was a little time-strapped. Our gracious and helpful host was the Head of the Division of Material Sciences, Associate Professor Tim White - a genial man with a flare for communicating science with interest and clarity.

We saw a synthetic chemistry lab - which immediately struck Ainan, with his very sensitive nose, as a most smelly place: he kept clutching his hand to his face. Interestingly, he was able to identify certain types of molecule by their smell.

Tim showed him some of the basic equipment of a synthetic lab, at work: a centrifuge (operating at 10,000 rpm - to which Ainan opined: "That is not fast...a circular saw is faster."; a fume cupboard - and a vacuum apparatus - to extract poisonous fumes. We also saw quite a few chemicals, many of them unpleasant if consumed. Luckily we weren't feeling hungry.

Ainan visited a Transmission Electron Microscope - through which he was able to view atoms in arrays. Yes, you read correctly, Ainan actually had a look at atoms today. The magnification was about six million times. Ainan listened intently as Professor White explained the operations of the device.

Ainan enjoyed making some complex structures of his own, drawing molecules, browsing through abstruse tomes and generally imbibing the nature of a chemical life. He had a great morning.

Our thanks to Associate Professor Tim White for his continued generosity. Ainan much appreciated the visit and the further opportunity it afforded him to come to a concrete understanding of a chemist's working life.

(If you would like to read more of 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, the creatively gifted, gifted children and gifted adults in general. Thanks.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 3:29 PM 


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