New Zealander Sean Gourley, TED Fellow

This week TED announced the inaugural TED Fellows programme and Sean Gourley, described as ‘physicist/military theorist, Rhodes Scholar, New Zealand’ is one of 40 world-changers picked. Sean’s background is BSc with Honours and Master of Science in Physics from Canterbury University. He researched nano-scale blue light lasers for his first-class BSc(Hons) degree in physics and self-assembled quantum nano-wires for his MSc, before enrolling for a DPhil at Oxford University, researching complex adaptive systems and collective intelligent systems.

His latest profile says “New Zealander, Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, PhD in Physics specialising in ‘networks and complexity’, just finished a research fellowship at Oxford in the quantitative analysis of war and terrorism.“

The TED Fellow Program is a big deal for Sean and New Zealand as well. Getting into the conference and paying the US$6k in fees plus the travel and other costs of getting there and back each time takes some serious effort for most of us, so it is fantastic that there is now a TED fellows sponsorship programme.

So what is the Ted Fellow award? And who are some of the first TED fellows?

An amazing, eclectic group of 40 people inaugurate the TED Fellows program as the 2009 Long Beach TED Fellows. Among them, you will find ...
1. The creator of the first African online ad network and the African equivalent of The Huffington Post
2. A New Zealand physicist who discovered the hidden mathematical patterns of warfare
3. The founder of an international women's inventor network
4. An Indian design researcher dedicated to improving the lives of children
5. A Korean-American actress whose one-woman show tells the story of a North Korean spy

And how can communities like Idealog be involved in nominating the next group of TED fellows? The short answer that we all can help in the selection process.

We can also be involved in scouting for the unusual suspects. Anyone can become a member of TED. As at today’s date, there are apparently 908 NZ linked members on the network. Seans TED profile is here My TED profile is here but anyone can join. Check the joining TED blurb here.

TED Fellows

We’re targeting individuals aged 21-40 from all of TED’s many disciplines, including of course, technology, entertainment and design but also science, humanities and the arts, entrepreneurs, NGOs and political and community leaders. We’re focusing on candidates from five regions of the world: Africa, Asia/Pacific, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Middle East. However, anyone 18 and over is welcome to apply. The first application cycle begins February 23rd, 2009.

To follow Sean's progress at TED and get glimpses of the conference you can follow Sean on Twitter at

The other local ANZAC star at TED is Remo Giuffre who has supplied the T-shirts to various TED events since 1994. To follow Remo at TED see (Remo just tweeted this:) “Back from #TED party. Had many great conversations with new & old friends. The eternally optimistic TED spirit alive & well in Long Beach.”

I’m all in favour of eternal optimism and we look forward to hearing more from Sean, Remo and any other Kiwis or Aussies at TED (anyone know Malcolm Poynton?)

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