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, December 01, 2008

Ainan and the logic gates.

Ainan is a most logical boy, so it was with some interest that I noted him drawing diagrams of logic circuits, a couple of weeks ago.

I asked him what he was doing and he explained that he was seeing what results he could obtain from different arrangements of logic devices. It turned out that he had read a website on computer circuits and so immediately turned his hand to designing his own gate arrangements, to explore the possibilities of the outcomes.

What was characteristic of him was that, although he had only just read of logic gates, he had immediately advanced to developing something with them. The possibilities inherent in their properties, excited him and he had immediately to examine them.

Once he had designed his circuits, he mentally entered inputs into them...and announced the outputs to me. He seemed quite charmed by the whole process.

I think this is an important characteristic of Ainan: that he finds pleasure in intellectual play - indeed, for him, what for another child would be dry learning, is the greatest of fun. He just likes to understand and explore and come to insights of his own.

I worry, though, about conventional education: would the strait-jacket of the classroom, knock this inherent enthusiasm for learning new things, out of him? I know that he has often complained of the school regime. It seems a pity to put his ability and interest in acquiring new knowledge at risk, by enforcing too rigid a regime on him. It is for this reason that we seek to homeschool him - yet still we struggle against a bureaucracy that seems to have a vested interest in not allowing him to be so schooled. Perhaps they fear to lose control of one they should not attempt to control in any way at all. They don't, however, understand that (just as they don't understand so many other things: that is the way of bureaucrats everywhere - they think the world is as they have made it to be - but it is not, the world remains unchanged, it is simply the way they view it that has fossilized.)

I was quite happy to let Ainan play with his logic gates even if I was not equipped to read his circuit diagrams myself, at that moment. My happiness was that he was happy in what he was doing - and that he was opening up yet another new area for himself, by himself, as always.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and seven months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, five years exactly, and Tiarnan, twenty-eight 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.

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 11:11 PM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even with Ainan's obvious intelligence, you must be doing something right ... well done!

From a father of school-going children ...
Please get Ainan out of SG soon.

Dun worry. We will not forget Ainan. 10 years on, Singapore will claim credit for his successes :-p

2:47 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

I see your point: Singapore's education system is rather stifling, yes.

Thanks for the thought.

3:33 PM  

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