Google
 
Web www.scientific-child-prodigy.blogspot.com

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, June 02, 2007

News in the Cancan, Romania

The Cancan is a dance, to most people but, to Romanians, it is "the leading first quality tabloid newspaper", according to its own description.

Now, Ainan's achievements have been covered in many newspapers, in many countries, but I was really quite surprised to discover, today, that the Romanian newspaper, Cancan, had somehow heard about Ainan and, using a photo available online, ran a story on him. It is quite sweet of them, to notice him!

For the few of you who may be able to read Romanian and to preserve it for posterity, I will post it below. I am not sure if they have got all the facts right, because I can't read it - but at least they tried. I think they got the age at which he would browse in libraries wrong by several years...he was much earlier than what I think they are saying.

It was published on the 25th of May 2007:

Geniu in chimie, la doar sapte ani

SIMPLU. Ainan rezolva imediat probleme de chimie care ii pun la grea incercare pe liceeni
Dana Arama (this was the caption to the photo which, unaccountably, won't paste here.)

Ainan Celeste Cawley are doar sapte ani, dar rezolva deja teste de chimie care se dau la examenele de colegiu. De curand, el a trecut cu brio un test la British Council din Singapore, unde a sustinut examenul de chimie alaturi de alti patru concurenti adulti. "Chimia e o stiinta minunata si nu mi se pare deloc grea", spune el, simplu. Ainan si-a manifestat interesul pentru stiinta care studiaza atomii, compozitia, structura si proprietatile substantelor inca de foarte mic. "La 3-4 ani, l-am gasit cotrobaind in biblioteca. Luase carti de stiinta, cu texte foarte greu de inteles chiar si pentru un adult. Le-a citit cu mare interes. Ulterior, a inceput sa comenteze ce citea cu tatal lui", a povestit mama lui Ainan, Syahidah Osman Cawley. Se pare ca micul geniu a mostenit pasiunea pentru stiintele exacte de la tatal lui, Valentine Cawley, licentiat in Fizica la Universitatea Cambridge. A dat toate raspunsurile corecte "El singur a cautat sa afle cat mai multe despre chimie de pe Internet. Cand i-am dat primele teste de rezolvat, foarte greu de rezolvat si pentru un adolescent de 16 ani, a dat toate raspunsurile corecte", a explicat mandru tatal baietelului, Valentine. Ainan, care e jumatate irlandez, jumatate malaezian, a fost un bebelus precoce. La doua saptamani, silabisea cuvinte, la patru luni mergea de-a busilea, la sase luni mergea in picioare, iar la opt luni putea deja sa alerge. Urmatoarele provocari ale micului geniu: sa rezolve testele de chimie pentru elevii de 18 ani, sa intre la universitate si sa se dedice apoi unei cariere stiintifice.

So, hello Romania!

Thank you to Dana Arama for taking the trouble to cover Ainan, in Romanian.

Labels: , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
posted by Valentine Cawley @ 1:49 PM  0 comments

The child who paces about

This comment does not apply to anyone in particular, but to a whole kind of people in general.

Do you know anyone, child or adult who likes to pace about, particularly while thinking? Does it worry you to see them walking back and forth all the time? Do you think that because they pace they are somehow troubled?

I ask these questions because the common thinking of many people, led by "professionals" who should know better, but usually don't, is that pacing is the sign of some inner agitation. Many of us are entrained to consider such pacing "wrong". But is it? What does it mean?

As usual I never write a post without a good reason, and this post is no exception, you see pacing is NOT the sign of inner trouble that we are led to believe it is. This is a dangerous and foolish misconception. Pacing is, in fact, the normal mode for right brained people engaged in thinking.

Humans are either left brain or right brain dominant. Simplisitically, a right handed person will be left brain dominant. A right brained person will be left handed - or perhaps mixed handed/ambidextrous. What is clear from this is that left-brain types would be expected to be much more common than right brain types. Perhaps that is why this basic misunderstanding of the meaning of "pacing" for a subset of people has come about.

If a right brained person is pacing it means nothing more than that they are in thought. There is no inner agitation. There is no presence of troubling ruminations. This is a dangerous misperception which can lead to real problems for a right brained person. You see, the preferred modality, while thinking, of a right brained person, is to be walking, back and forth. A right brained child - or adult - should NOT be prevented or discouraged from such pacing - for that is how their mind feels most comfortable while in thought.

It seems to me that the prevailing "wisdom" on the issue of such pacing has probably caused great harm to the understanding of the right brained among us. Who, by the way, are the right brained? They are the creative ones - the ones every society most needs.

So, the next time you see someone pacing about, don't judge them - stop and think: is that a right brained person before me? Are they mixed handed? Are they left-handed? Are they in a creative profession? If so, what you are witnessing is not a person with problems, but a person with an IDEA. Leave them to think.

(If you would like to read 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: http://scientific-child-prodigy.blogspot.com/2006/10/scientific-child-prodigy-guide.html 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. Thanks.)

Labels: , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
posted by Valentine Cawley @ 7:42 AM  11 comments

Friday, June 01, 2007

Giftedness and "palm-reading"

There is a tradition in Europe of palm reading, whereby by a woman (usually) gazes into one's hand and tells of one's life, past, present and future.

Personally, I have never had any doubt that it was doubtful, however, a recent piece of research has thrown up an interesting correlation between the form of the hand and the form of the brain, above it.

It has been observed that there is a strong inverse correlation between the ratio of the index finger to the ring finger and a talent for maths. By this I mean that a SHORT index finger in relation to the ring finger, indicates a brain well-equipped for maths. On the other hand, a hand in which the ratio of index finger to ring finger is about one (they are of similar length) indicates more of a verbally inclined brain.

What is the cause of this relationship? Testosterone. Lots of it, in the womb, makes your index finger short and your brain biased towards visuo-spatial/mathematical tasks. Little of it, and relatively more estrogen, allows the brain to progress towards a verbal type brain.

Usually, this means that a boy will have the maths bias and a girl the verbal bias - but this is by no means universal. There are maths woman and verbal men - as shown by their hands.

So, is your child a maths child or a verbal child? To find out how their brain is actually biased all you have to do is look at their hands and see how long or short the index and ring fingers are. It is that simple.

(If you would like to read about 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: http://scientific-child-prodigy.blogspot.com/2006/10/scientific-child-prodigy-guide.html 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.)

Labels: , , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
posted by Valentine Cawley @ 10:20 AM  12 comments

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Are children image conscious?

How image conscious are children? How influenced are they by the world of gloss and advertising, image and image-making?

I wonder at this because of something Fintan, three, said, over three months ago. He saw a rather plain, non-descript Chinese woman of no particular age and no particular allure, getting into a shiny, jet black, flashy sports car.

He pointed across at her and said: "Look at that woman, so funny…so pretty."

She may have been funny, in her own way, but she was definitely not pretty. Fintan, three, had had his perception overwhelmed, it seems, by the glossy item of the shiny black car. The woman had, in his eyes, become "pretty" by association with a beautiful car.

It is funny to think on it - but does this work with adults, too? Does a shiny, flashy, expensive sports car make someone more attractive? Is there a prettiness by association? If anyone should research the matter, they should credit me, here, for asking the question.

Fintan is only three, but already he has proven that the world of image-making has a hold over him. His reaction shows that it is possible to create quite a strong reaction in a young child, just by the gloss of an image deployed.

An unattractive woman became "pretty", by the simple expedient of buying an exotic car.

That should give people something to think about. It might even influence their car-buying decisions!

Perhaps that is why young men like to drive sports cars around. Perhaps they are not hunks after all - but plain joes, whose cars make them look good.

(If you would like to learn more of Fintan, three, or his gifted brothers, Ainan Celeste Cawley, seven years and six months and Tiarnan, sixteen months, please go to http://scientific-child-prodigy.blogspot.com/2006/10/scientific-child-prodigy-guide.html 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.)

Labels: , , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
posted by Valentine Cawley @ 5:43 PM  6 comments

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Genetic discrimination against the gifted

Racism is discrimination based on genetics. It is almost universally decried and fought against. Discrimination against the disabled is also, often, based on genetics - and universally fought against. Giftedness is genetically determined, and often the subject of discrimination - but who fights against that? Virtually no-one. "Giftism", as I have coined it, is both common and not thought of as a real issue. It is OK in many societies to be hostile towards the gifted; to deny them appropriate educational opportunity and generally deny them receiving what they need to receive - by simply ignoring them.

The gifted child is often resented by other children - and socially isolated as a result. That is a form of discrimination. Most schools who saw a child of minority race being shunned would get the school together and give them a talk about it - and try to persuade them to be more inclusive. No such talk will ever occur to protect gifted children from ill-treatment. Their situation is simply not recognized - or if it is, no-one, who has the power to do something about it, cares enough to act.

Discrimination of all kinds must be opposed in a civilized world. If your nation does not oppose discrimination against the gifted - then it is not yet fully civilized: there is at least one more step to take.

It is not just the intellectually gifted who receive this directed envy of their fellows. Children - and adults - gifted in other ways also receive it.

Brad Pitt, of all people, made a relevant comment on the issue, by being quoted as saying:

"I am one of those people you hate because of genetics."

So, even, the famous among us, feel it: the hate of others, simply because of who we are.

Really, everyone, everywhere, who understands this issue should do what they can to oppose it and make this world a more civilized, inclusive, place.

(If you would like to read about 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: http://scientific-child-prodigy.blogspot.com/2006/10/scientific-child-prodigy-guide.html 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.)

Labels: , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
posted by Valentine Cawley @ 10:59 AM  0 comments

Monday, May 28, 2007

20 Minutos on Ainan Celeste Cawley

20 Minutos is the leading Spanish newspaper by readership. They did a story on Ainan recently but, since I can no longer find the story on their website, I am pasting an online clip of it, here, so that readers may find it.

Un niño de 7 años aprueba un examen preuniversitario de Química
EUROPA PRESS / 20MINUTOS.ES. 23.05.2007 - 21:06h

Ainan Celeste Cawley es medio malayo medio irlandés.
Pasó un examen para jóvenes de 16 años.

Se llama Ainan Celeste Cawley y a sus 7 años ya ha logrado aprobar un examen de Química pensado para un nivel preuniversitario, es decir, para jóvenes con al menos 16 años; se toma a Ainan como el único niño prodigio químico del mundo, y la historia de su corta vida es la historia de unos logros sorprendentemente precoces.

Pronunciaba palabras con apenas dos semanasPronunciaba algunas palabras a las dos semanas de vida, gateaba a los cuatro meses, caminaba a los seis y corría a los ocho, según aseguran sus padres en su blog; tamaño prodigio, hijo de un licenciado en Física por la Universidad de Cambridge y una artista ambidiestra, obtuvo el nivel 'O' en Química por el London Edexcel Board.

Leía libros de Química que luego comentaba

Cuentan que, cuando era pequeño, Ainan buscaba libros de ciencias en la biblioteca de la casa, mostrando preferencia por textos difíciles con complicadas ilustraciones sobre temas científicos, que luego comentaba; con tres o cuatro años estaba interesado en las formas híperdimensionales y dibujaba sus sombras en dos dimensiones a manera de juego intelectual.
Este interés hacia las estructuras abstractas se desarrolló posteriormente en un interés por las estructuras de las moléculas a medida que fue descubriendo la Química en internet; de hecho, según sus padres, a través de la navegación por la Red se educó a sí mismo en la ciencia.

Labels: , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
posted by Valentine Cawley @ 9:04 PM  0 comments

Albert Einstein on gifted isolation.

The more gifted a child is, the more alone they tend to be.

This is not the product of a deficit, in them, generally, but a deficiency in others: the willingness to accept one of difference, in their midst. The more superior one's mind, to those around, the less likely one is to find sufficient common ground to build a solid friendship, of any kind, unless the gifted child (or gifted adult) ventures to be inauthentic and pretends to be other than they are, simply to win acceptance. Either path is a lost cause - for neither really wins true acceptance.

There is much that I can say on this, but I will keep this post brief and end it with Albert Einstein's observation on the gifted condition, as it applied to his rather special circumstance:

"It is strange to be known so universally and yet to be so lonely." They are among the saddest words a genius has ever spoken (second I would think, though, to Leonardo Da Vinci's last words, referred to in another post).

Einstein lived a significant portion of his life as a world famous man. He was instantly recognizable everywhere he went. There was no escaping the recognition in others' eyes: it was universal. Yet, he protested, in this frank comment, that the whole experience had done nothing to assuage his loneliness. He was still a solitary figure by most standards. He still stood alone in the social world, much as he had, at one time, in the intellectual world. What was it that made him so alone? Ironically, the very gift that had made him so famous, made him so different from others that he could not meet his match: there were too few people with whom he could really have any worthwhile engagement, for long.

To some degree, this is the fate of all who are most gifted - if their gifts are enough to set them truly apart. Even the best of social skills can only create a range of friendships that fail to satisfy the deepest needs of the most gifted - for they cannot, in truth, find a match for themselves in them. They must satisfy themselves with the shallows of life and the depths of their work.

I am not sure if there is any satisfactory way around this phenomenon. Perhaps, the most gifted should accept the situation for what it is, and find most fulfilment in their work. Oddly enough, that is exactly what most geniuses do. It seems they knew what to do all along.

Labels: , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
posted by Valentine Cawley @ 7:35 PM  0 comments

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Close encounter of the Bird Kind.

Fintan's trip to the Zoo with Tiarnan had, as usual, its moments of surprise.

As we wandered about the Zoo, we encountered, a peacock running freely about. It was a male with its tail feathers hidden from display. It approached Fintan rather closely and he must have felt threatened by this, given their relative sizes (the peacock was quite big from Fintan's perspective). So, as the peacock neared, Fintan raised a short stick he happened to have in his hands, clearly intending to throw it at the bird to scare him off.

"Don't do that Fintan!" I ordered, quickly.

He dropped his raised arm, then said: "Why? Is it because it has dinosaur feet?"

I looked down at the bird's feet and, sure enough, the feet looked like those typically depicted for dinosaurs. Fintan, three, had spotted the commonality between birds and dinosaurs by observation. Presumably, he was saying that if it had dinosaur feet, perhaps it was like dinosaurs in other ways too - and so might prove to be unexpectedly dangerous, if he attacked it.

With a heightened respect, he let his arm fall and just watched the bird carefully. It didn't approach any nearer and, perhaps sensing that all was not well with Fintan's response, it backed off and away.

Fintan was very content in the Zoo. His liking for animals is most clear and there, he seems to be most happy.

(If you would like to read more of Fintan, three, or his gifted brothers, Ainan Celeste Cawley, seven years and six months, or Tiarnan, sixteen months, please go to: http://scientific-child-prodigy.blogspot.com/2006/10/scientific-child-prodigy-guide.html 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.)

Labels: , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
posted by Valentine Cawley @ 9:33 AM  0 comments

Technorati ranking for scientific child prodigy

As many of you may know, Technorati provides rankings for blogs. It claims to list over 71 million blogs on its site, ranking them all from top to bottom.

As of today, my blog is ranked as the 222,604th blog on the net with an "Authority" of 23. That means it is ranked higher than about 71 million other blogs. That doesn't seem bad at all considering how young the blog is - and the niche interest that it occupies. To me, that indicates that there is quite a lot of interest in the world about all matters gifted - more than one might suppose.

So, if you are a reader of this blog, you are most certainly not alone: there is a whole world of fellow readers out there, too.

Happy reading.

Labels: , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
posted by Valentine Cawley @ 9:25 AM  0 comments

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape