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 +

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Ainan's recipe for Fish and Chips

Unusual knowledge, gives rise to unusual perspectives - and, it seems, an unusual sense of humour.

It is Saturday. In England, where I once lived, on a Saturday night, one would often see people queuing outside Fish and Chip shops across the land. It was, in some strata a tradition, to "down a pint" with their Fish and Chips, of a weekend. The most modest of outlets was often able to attract quite a crowd, if they had the fatty flavour just right.

The other day, Ainan jested about a recipe for the flavouring of Chips (as in Fish and Chips). For those who don't know, chips are "french fries" - but thicker and generally softer than the variety sold in MacDonald's, Burger King and the like.

In England, most people added vinegar and salt to their chips, for flavouring.

Ainan looked at this situation and laughed to himself, before remarking:

"Why not add HSbF6 and CsF, to them?"

He thought this was hilarious. Perhaps I should explain. Vinegar is actually a 5% solution of ethanoic acid, salt is actually sodium chloride. What Ainan was proposing was that the Vinegar be replaced by Fluoro-Antimonic Acid. It is still acidic and therefore sour in taste. The only problem might be that this acid is 10 to the power 19 times stronger than Sulphuric Acid. Anyone eating it would be somewhat inconvenienced. The other suggested chemical, Cesium Fluoride, is also a salt made in the same way as Sodium Chloride - a combination of an alkali metal and a halogen. However, in this case he chose the most extreme readily available elements of their kind for the combination. By all accounts Cesium Fluoride has a truly awful taste, being far more flavoursome - in the most negative of ways - than sodium chloride.

Thus, Ainan's recipe is an analogy to the traditional one. It is still the adding of a salt and an acid, as flavouring - though with rather different effects!

(If you would like to read more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged seven years and eight months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, four years and one month, or Tiarnan, eighteen 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 @ 10:26 AM 


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