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 +

Monday, June 04, 2007

Does water boil at room temperature?

Ainan, seven, is fond of his home experiments. By this I mean, he is ever tinkering with his world in ways which are often surprising.

Last week, he came to me and showed me a little device he had put together for the manipulation of air pressure. Within it he had a little water.

"Watch Daddy.", he commanded, at the beginning of his demonstration.

He proceeded to lower the pressure in the container. At first, nothing seemed to be happening but then something strange began to happen: bubbles started to form in the water. It appeared to be boiling gently.

"It's boiling." He announced.

Then he reversed the procedure and increased the pressure. At some point, there was a sudden condensation of water vapour on the inner surface of the vessel. "And there," he declared, "is the proof that it was boiling."

Excess water lined the vessel, Ainan's proof that it had boiled away to fill the tube, only to condense again.

Now, I had never seen that done - and didn't expect it to be done by my seven year old, at home - but that's Ainan.

Please note that Ainan did not heat the water to achieve this effect: he simply manipulated the air pressure - and this did not heat the water, either.

(If you would like to know more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged seven years and six 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 adults and gifted children in general. Thanks.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 6:19 AM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That sounds like a fun experiment. We saw a similar demonstration at a science fair at our local college. The kids were very impressed! What apparatus did Ainan use to create the vacuum?

2:06 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Hi, yes it was fun.

Ainan used a straightforward set-up of an airtight tube and a simple pump. He could increase or decrease the pressure at will.


9:05 PM  

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