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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 +

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A true love of cars.

Ainan is an unusual boy...and I mean that in a good way. One of his unusual qualities is his retentive memory. Ainan collects new information, much as middle-aged men collect fat around their waist: effortlessly and involuntarily - it just keeps on piling up, no matter what he does.

Let me give you an example. Ainan likes cars. In fact, he really likes cars. He actually takes the time to seek out new ones, read about them, analyze and critique their designs and their engineering and, often propose something that would work even better. In the course of his perusal over a wide range of car magazines and books, something that would be odd in another child, or adult, has happened: all this information has just stuck. It has accumulated within him, like a dripping tap filling a swimming pool. He is just bursting with car related information. It is quite surprising to hear him talk about them, if you are unaccustomed to his ways.

Several months ago, he sat down, one day, to make a little list. Off the top of his head, without any recourse to external reference sources of any kind (since his computer has no ability to connect to the internet, for good parental reasons), he made a list of the cars he knew. The list is very striking in a number of ways. Firstly, is that he ordered the brand names of the cars alphabetically - and he did this, in his head, before writing them down. Secondly, is the detail with which he refers to the cars - he always includes full model numbers. Thirdly, is the sheer vastness of the list, when you consider that it means that he is personally acquainted with the characteristics, design, engine power and engineering of each and every one of them.

Here is Ainan's list, as he wrote it, composing it, on the fly, with only the "Google" in his head to work with:

"CARS I KNOW OF


Alfa Romeo:
147
8C
Brera
Brera Spyder
Zagato TZ3
156
159

Amuse Powerhouse:
S2000 GT1 Turbo

Ariel:
Atom 200
Atom 300
Atom 500

Art Morrison’s:
Corvette 60

Ascari:
A10
KZ1

Aston Martin:
DB9
DB8
DB7
DB6
DB5
DBRS9
V8 Vantage
Vanquish
DBS
DBR9
V8 Vantage N24

Audi:
TT
TT RS
R8
R8 V10
R8 Spyder
R9
Infineon R10
RSQ
RS4
RS5
RS6
A1
A4
A8
S4
Q7
Q5
S6
S8
R8 GT
R8 GT RS

Bentley:
Brooklands
Flying Spur
Arnage

Blitz:
Dunlop ER34 Skyline

BMW:
M3 Coupe
M3 4-Door
M3 GT2 Le Mans
M5 Coupe
M5 4-Door
M6 Coupe
1
3
5
6
X5
X6
135i
760Li
750Li
328i
Z4
Z4 M Coupe
335i
550i
650i

Brabus:
SL Biturbo

Bristol:
Fighter
Fighter T

Bugatti:
Veyron 16.4
Veyron FBG per Hermes
Veyron Pur Sang
Veyron Grand Sport
Veyron Linea Vincero by Mansory
Veyron Sang Noir
Veyron Pegaso
Type 47
Type 57
Atlantic
Royale
16C Galibier 16.2S
Baby Bugatti
Veyron Super Sport

Cadillac:
CTS-V
DTS
Escalade
Escalade EXT
SRX
STS-V
XLR-V

Chaparral:
2E
2D
2J

Chevrolet:
Corvette
Corvette Z06
Corvette ZR1
Volt
Impala
Cobalt SS
Camaro SS
Cobalt
Camaro
Corvette Callaway
Corvette Z51

Chrysler:
ME-FourTwelve
300C

Citroen:
GT by Citroen
C3
C3 Picasso
C4
C4 Picasso
C4 Grand Picasso
C5
C5 Picasso

Dacia:
Lancia
Lancia Beta Coupe

Daihatsu:
OFC
OFC-1
Copen
Terios

Dodge:
Ram
Challenger
Challenger SRT8
Viper
Viper GTS
Viper SRT10
Charger
Charger SRT10
Nitro
Viper ACR

Ferrari:
Enzo
FXX
FXX Evoluzione
512BB
360
360 Modena
360 CS
California
430
F430 CS
F430 Scuderia
458 Italia
458 CS
F2005 F1
F2007 F1
599 HGTE
599 GTB Fiorano
612 F1
599 GTO

Fiat:
Abarth 500 SS
Panda
Panda Mammy


Ford:
GT
GT LM
Focus
Focus RS
Focus STi
GT90
Shelby GT
Shelby GT500
Model T

Gumpert:
Apollo S
Apollo Rr

Honda:
Integra
Integra Type R
Civic
Civic Mugen Type R
City
FCX Clarity

Hummer:
H1
H2
H3

Hyundai:
Sonata
I10
Santefe
Genesis Concept
Veracruz
Veracruz Limited

Infiniti:
G35
EX Concept


Jaguar:
XK
XKR
XJ
XJS
XJ220

Jeep:
J8
Patriot
Grand Cherokee

Koenigsegg:
CC8S
CCGT
CCR
CCX
CCXR
Agera

KTM:
X-bow
X-bow R

Lamborghini:
Gallardo
Gallardo LP560-4
Gallardo Superleggera
Gallardo LP570-4 SV
Gallardo LP550-4 Balboni
Gallardo LP570-4 Blancpain Super trefeo
Murcielago
Murcielago LP640-4 SuperVeloce
Murcielago LP670-4 SuperVeloce
Underground Racing LP670-4 SuperVeloce
Reventon
Reventon Spyder
Diablo
Diablo VTTT
Countach
Jalpa
Jota
Sesto Elemento

Land Rover:
Discovery
Freelander
Freelander 2
Range Rover
Evoque

Lexus:
LF-A
IS-F
LS600HL

Lotus:
Evora
Exige
Exige S
Elise
Elise 111R

Maserati:
Quattroporte
MC12

Maybach:
62S

Mazda:
Furai
5
3
CX-9
RX-7
RX-8
MX-5
Miata

Mclaren:
MP4-12C
F1
F1 LM

Mercedes Benz:
SL55 AMG
SL AMG Black
CLK55 AMG
CLK AMG Black
SLR Mclaren
SLS Gullwing
E63 AMG
600 Grosser
CL600
CLK GTR
C63 AMG
SLR Mclaren 722

Mercury:
Marina

Meyers:
Manxster

Mines:
EN34 Skyline GT-R

Mini:
Cooper
Cooper S
Cooper D


Mitsubishi:
Lancer EVO I
Lancer EVO II
Lancer EVO III
Lancer EVO IV
Lancer EVO V
Lancer EVO VI
Lancer EVO VII
Lancer EVO VIII
Lancer EVO IX
Lancer EVO X
Lancer EVO X FQ-360
Lancer EVO X FQ-400

Mitsuoka:
Orochi
Galue

Nissan:
GT-R R34
GT-R Prototype
GT-R Concept
GT-R Spec-V
GT-R R33
350Z
370Z

Noble:
M14
M15
M400
M600

Panoz:
LMP-1 Roadster S

Peugeot:
308 RCZ
408
4008

Porsche:
Cayman
Cayman S
911 GT2
911 GT3
911 GT3 RS
911 GT1
911 Turbo
911 GT2 RS
Cayenne
Cayenne Turbo S
Panemera
9FF GT9
Boxster
Boxster S
918 Spyder
928

Proton:
Saga 12V
Gen-2
Savvy

Radical:
SR8
SR8 LM
SR3

Renault:
Clio
Clio Sport
Avantime


Rolls-Royce:
Ghost
Phantom
H.J Mulliner Park Ward

Rossion:
Q1

Saab:
9-5
9-5 Aero
9-3

Saleen:
S7
S7 TT

ShelbySuperCars:
Ultimate Aero
Ultimate Aero TT
Ultimate Aero EV

Spyker:
LM85
Ailerone
Ailerone Spyder
Zagato


Subaru:
Impreza
Impreza WRX STi
Legacy
Outback

Suzuki:
Cuppacino
Swift
Swift Sport
SX4
XL7 Hill Climb

Toyota:
Camry
Camry G
Corolla
Corolla Altis
Hilux
Hilux Invincible
Supra

Tuscan:
Speed Six
Eight Speed
Sagaris
Twelve speed

Vauxhall:
Astra
Astra VXR8
Insignia
Vectra
Vectra VXR8

Volkswagen:
Golf GTi
Golf V GTi
Pheaton
Scirocco
Scirocco TDi
Scirocco R
Touareg W12
Touareg V10
Touran
Polo
Passat
Nardo W12
Eos
Jetta

Volvo:
XC90
XC60
C70
S80
C30 Polestar

Westfield:
XT1

Zenvo:
ST1

356 Cars"

When I saw that, even I was taken aback, because for most of us, the apparently random numbers and letters and arbitrary names of cars, just blur into one undifferentiated mass, after a handful or two of them. Yet, not for Ainan: for him, they are each unique, discrete memories of great detail and power.

Please take a look at that list and reflect on the fact that it was written spontaneously, by a ten year old boy, as a summary of the cars he was personally acquainted with. Then think again this thought: Ainan is like that with everything he is interested in. He need only develop an interest in something and it is not long before he becomes knowledgeable beyond one's most unleashed imagination. It is quite startling to behold - and a little humbling, for those who might be insecure about themselves.

The other thing to consider is that, for Ainan, such displays of erudition, take no effort at all. All he had to do was sit down, and without any seeming difficulty, order the list alphabetically, in his head - and write it out. To do so, he had, of course, necessarily, to sort through every car he had ever come across, and place its brand in order, before he wrote them down. What is even more remarkable is that he didn't go back and change anything, that he wrote: it was all written, in one direction, top to bottom, in alphabetical order, with no subsequent alterations. Frankly, it was spooky, even to me.

I have been meaning to write of this deed of Ainan's for some months, now...but I have only just managed to find the time, and attention to do so. I think it is worth recording it, as an exemplar of what his mind is capable of, with regard to information retention and processing, in a rather savant-like manner.

Of course, cars are not the most serious matter in the world. However, the very same mental capacity that allowed him to do what he did, could be applied most helpfully in many other areas. I hope that, as Ainan grows older he will find ways to apply his uncanny abilities, in uniquely productive ways.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, 10, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, 6 and Tiarnan, 4, this month, please go to: http://scientific-child-prodigy.blogspot.com/2006/10/scientific-child-prodigy-guide.htmlI also write of gifted education, child prodigy, child genius, adult genius, savant, megasavant, HELP University College, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, Malaysia, IQ, intelligence and creativity.

You can get my blog on your Kindle, for easy reading, wherever you are, by going to: http://www.amazon.com/Boy-Who-Knew-Too-Much/dp/B0042P5LEE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1284603792&sr=8-1

Please let all your fellow Kindlers know about my blog availability - and if you know my blog well enough, please be so kind as to write a thoughtful review of what you like about it. Thanks.

My Internet Movie Database listing is at: http://imdb.com/name/nm3438598/

Ainan's IMDB listing is at http://imdb.com/name/nm3305973/

Syahidah's IMDB listing is at http://imdb.com/name/nm3463926/

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This blog is copyright Valentine Cawley. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited. Use only with permission. Thank you.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 9:55 PM 

7 Comments:

Blogger Alex said...

Hello Valentine.

For the past few months, I have checked your blog periodically, reading all recent updates. I find it very interesting.

I am only a few years older than Ainan, and I too, am very interested in science. I am also, as you seem to be, very interested in gifted children. I find that this blog is perfect to for nurturing my interests.

I find this post very interesting. I also have a very good memory, though nothing as great as Ainan's. I find I remember events more than facts. I think Ainan's memory will be very useful for a scientific (or other) career in the future.

Your blog itself seems to relate to me well. I have never been tested for any sort of gift, but I find hat I have many gifted traits. I read Charles Darwin's Origin of Species at the of twelve. I have also read several books on Einstein's papers around that time, and found them very interesting.

I believe the way you are nurturing all your of your son's gifts is great. To read of you trying to get Ainan the proper education and resources in previous posts shows this significantly. My parents do nurture my interests, I am not going to criticize them, but they don't seem to understand the same way you do. Just a few months ago I attempted to buy a book on biochemistry, and my father refused, saying it was a waste of my money, because it would be too hard for me to understand. Of course, I am not saying he is mean,and that this is bad parenting. I know there several different great ways a person parents their child. I do understand what he was trying to say. I am just trying to prove the point that the way you nurture you son's gift is great, as it seems it will help enhance his interests and help him flourish. I think it is a great way to keep him safe, happy, and healthy, all in one.

I appreciate you writing your blog. I find it very useful, and I thank you.

7:09 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thank you Alex for your thoughts.

Firstly, you may very well be gifted - one certainly doesn't have to be "tested" to be so, although testing does establish the trait for educational authorities.

Your early reading is certainly more advanced than is typical of youngsters these days - and your interest in the biochemistry book particularly telling. To my mind, the last thing one should refuse a child is a book on something that interests them. Often, I find, parents do not fully appreciate what their children are thinking or can think - perhaps because they are too busy with their working lives, to observe them closely enough.

Yes. I agree, Ainan's capacious memory should serve to give him the knowledge base on which to build a scientific or any other career. It would be particularly useful in information rich sciences, like Chemistry or Biology.

I am glad you appreciate my blog.

Some people find it nourishing because it makes them feel comfortable about their own gifts. Perhaps you feel the same.

Best wishes on becoming what you can be.

8:36 AM  
OpenID laktosefrei said...

Ainan will certainly shine in every exam he is ever going to take, without even having to try. It's great that he remembered all these cars.

I believe that it takes passion and interest to remember so much information.

- Maria -

4:43 AM  
Blogger E said...

Very impressive list, some of these I hadn't heard of but I was surprised that some of the classics are missing. The boys will like these:

One of the best Ferraris of all time, and now the most expensive at $18-20M is the 250 GTO A video by a man who owned one as a teenager in the late 60s, with period film of his friends racing their Ferraris in the canyons af Los Angeles is here(YouTube running time 5:55) and another video by the same man of a modern track meet of several 250GTOs is here (YouTube running time 6:55) A famous variant of the 250 GTO body is the unique Ferrari Breadvan(running time 1:08) , capable of 300kph in 1961.

Another, slightly earlier classic Ferrari is the 250 GT Berlinetta SWB Here is a heart-stopping in-car video (running time 6:39) of one of these being raced down Mount Revard in France in winter on icy roads at speeds that look to be over 150 mph on the straight drops. My father once rode in one of these in the mid 60s in similar conditions.

Reaching further back and into a much more obscure marque, the Tatra T87 is one of the coolest cars ever built: as Jalopnik says: "What has a rear-mounted, air-cooled V8, was made in Czechoslovakia, and had a reputation for killing Nazis?" This engine style and layout was later made famous by VW and Porsche. This was also the first design with an ultra-streamlined design - far more aerodynamic than even today's cars, which gave high-speed cruise and high fuel efficiency. The article has a link to Jay Leno showing off his T87's features and taking it for a drive.

5:56 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Maria I love the name you have chosen: lactose free, indeed!

Yes. Ainan should be able to do well in whatever he wishes to. I should point out, though, that memory is but one interesting characteristic he has, lest some think that he is just a capacious mind. I just wrote the post because it is quite startling sometimes what he can do.

Thanks for your comment...and best wishes with your journal.

10:46 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thanks E, for the links to cars. I will make sure Ainan sees your comment so he can follow up.

Are you a bit of a car buff yourself, then?

Ainan's list of cars depends on his access to information about them...maybe some of the older ones are not referenced so readily anymore, hence the missing classics.

Thanks.

10:50 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thanks E, for your car suggestion. We shall look into it, though I can't post your comment here, lest others buy the car in question!

Much appreciated.

6:47 PM  

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