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 +

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Ainan invents mathematical theories and formulae

Ainan, seven, has developed a new interest, apart from Chemistry: Mathematics. He is approaching this with the same zest with which he has investigated Chemistry. Some of the early results of his approach are interesting.

Ainan is not one to sit idly by and absorb the thinking of others, without contributing his own. He is now actively experimenting with Maths, as he does with Chemistry - though this time the results are mathematical observations, formulae or theories, of some kind.

He also studies everything scientifically or mathematically, viewing it with his particularly insightful gaze. For instance, here is his take on TV watching:

Yesterday, as we were walking through a park landscape (as we like to do), he turned to me and said: "Daddy, I have come up with a formulae for the probability that only one person is watching a particular TV programme at any one time." He then told me the formulae, describing it in words and slashing motions in the air as he drew it before him.

I continued the rest of the walk in the park, in a ruminative silence, pondering the fact that my son should see the world through such scientific and mathematical eyes, that he cannot even watch TV without coming up with a formula for it.

Sometimes, I think being a father is the most interesting "job" in the world.

By the way, I should point out that Ainan has not been taught probability, but is working this out for himself. I had one comment which I am not publishing which noted that probability is a known phenomenon and therefore not invented. It is not known to Ainan: he thought of it himself. Also, his particular application is unique to him. I wonder sometimes at the lack of insight of some people: they don't look at the world from a child's perspective and realize that if a child works out probability for themselves that is a BIG step. It is very different from an adult applying a formula which somebody taught them at school. The latter situation (to which the commenter was comparing the situation), requires no thought or intelligence at all: a very different situation.

This leads to a general thought. When coming to understand a child, first understand their perspective and the knowledge base that they are proceeding from. Otherwise you really won't get any insight at all.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged seven years and five months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, three and Tiarnan, sixteen 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 @ 3:48 PM 


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