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, May 12, 2008

Straits Videocast on Ainan

The Straits Times online site, has a video cast, presently on its front page about Ainan. It concerns his admission to Singapore Polytechnic to do lab based Chemistry modules across the spectrum of Chemistry, in years one, two and three simultaneously.

It is to be found at:

The link will probably only work for a couple of weeks since the site doesn't permanently archive vodcasts.

The video does not mention that Ainan is doing modules from year three, year two and year one. As a year three student at a tertiary institution he is most probably the youngest in the world to work at that level, at that age. Certainly, no-one has ever graduated from a tertiary institution young enough to have been in the final year at the age of 8.

Thank you.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and five months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, four years and ten months, and Tiarnan, twenty-seven months, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, College, University, Chemistry, Science, genetics, left-handedness, precocity, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, wunderkind, wonderkind, genio, гений ребенок prodigy, genie, μεγαλοφυία θαύμα παιδιών, bambino, kind, niño, gênio criança, gifted adults and gifted children in general. Thanks.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 8:19 PM 


Anonymous Bee Yong said...

Congrats to you and Ainan, for having come this far. Finally he has his regular practicals! I am truely happy for him.

Hope he enjoys all the practical lessons at the poly.

9:32 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thank you Bee Yong, for your kind words. Ainan is enjoying himself very much and is getting more practical experience than ever before. (In the last three weeks he has done more lab time than in the previous year and a half.)

Kind regards

9:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, I'm so impressed. You must be a very proud parent. I don't even know the word chemistry at 8. Saw his picture in MyPaper today. He's so cute. I will be looking foward to reading on his development. Cheers

12:49 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thank you Dennis.

Best wishes

1:32 PM  
Blogger Miao said...

The Chinese papers featured Ainan yesterday too. He looks absolutely adorable in those photos! Congratulations - I am really happy that Ainan finally gets to attend regular practical lessons. A boy with his gift should be embraced by our education system.

I guess you should start shopping for a foreign university already!

2:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Mr. Cawley,
I read about Ainan in the news yesterday. So, I look up in google. Wow! I'm so impressed! Congratulations to you and Ainan. Having read that you are a gifted person yourself, it's no wonder that your children are too. However, I believe no matter how gifted a child is, if there is no encouragement and effort from parents, the giftedness will burnout. I respect you for being such a responsible father. I homeschool my children who are 8, 6 1/2 and 3 and I believe they are somewhat gifted too. However, I'm worried if I'm holding them back, like I'm not doing enough to facilitate their inquisitive mind. I would like to learn from you on the methods that you educate your children. My son (8) asks a lot of questions that I couldn't answer and has difficulty falling asleep at night as he would be thinking about things so much. Just last week he wanted to have his own Reptile website but I don't even know how to start a blog for him. He surfed the net extensively on things that interest him. Do you homeschool your children?


4:16 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Hi Miao,

Certainly it would be sensible to start looking at options for further development elsewhere - after all I don't they do PhDs here, much.

Thank you for your kind comments.

Best wishes

5:00 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Hi N,

Presently we have not been given permission to homeschool Ainan - we would love to.

Don't kick yourself too much about not doing enough: you can only do what you have the energy for. I am sure you doing a better job than you think (people often underestimate what they do, I feel.)

My son, too, finds lots of information on the internet - it is a very good educator.

It can be hard to keep up with a child's interests if you have no background knowledge. I can understand your situation.

However, as long as you doing your best, you have no reason to feel guilty.

Good luck with raising your gifted children.

5:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for your kind encouragement, Mr. Cawley.

I don't quite understand your situation. Ainan is attending polytechnic already at his age, so why does he still need to attend primary school, at the same time? Isn't attending school is for preparation to tertiary education? What is the government excuse for forcing him to go to school?

The regulation is the same in Malaysia where all children have to go to school by the age of 7. However, special permission can be obtained from the Ministry of Education to homeschool. It's such a waste for him to have to go through primary school when he can make better use of the time learning something that is more appropriate to his intellectual level.

Kind regards,

5:48 PM  

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