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 +

Friday, May 04, 2007

Raffles Institution: first lab experience

Yesterday Ainan had his first practical chemistry lesson.

Mr. Ong Chiau Jin of Raffles Institution, the venerable Singapore school started in 1823, taught Ainan the basics of lab safety and took him through many foundational chemical techniques.

At first Ainan was very concerned about safety - which is a good sign, I would rather that than rashness in such an environment - but he grew in confidence throughout the session as he learned to manipulate everything, safely. He was particularly wary of the pale blue, almost invisible, Bunsen (or Desaga-Faraday, as I like to call it) flame.

Mr. Ong took him through quite a few chemical analytical techniques - and Ainan accomplished each on the first attempt, under his careful direction. Mr. Ong explained everything with clarity, demonstrating everything efficiently, for Ainan, so that he might learn by his example.

Ainan was utterly absorbed by the class and, at the end, did not want to leave: he wanted the lesson to continue. Perhaps there could be no greater compliment to Mr. Ong and Raffles than that.

We would like to thank Mr. Ong, Theresa Lai and the Raffles Institution for giving Ainan this chance to begin to learn the practical skills that are such an essential part of a chemical education.

(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, or Tiarnan, fifteen 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 @ 10:29 AM 


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