Fellows class


About Sean


Sean Gourley's research for his master's degree led to the formation of New Zealand's first nanotech company, NanoDevices Ltd. He was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, where he studied for his PhD in a newly created branch of physics called "complexity," which uses techniques from traditional physics to understand and predict the behavior of social systems. After two years of PhD study he was offered a research position at NASA.

In 2007 his research on global conflicts was awarded a PhD in physics and resulted in a string of publications in Science, The Economist and The Telegraph, which led to a post as advisor to the newly formed Iraqi government. Gourley now lives and works in San Francisco at YouNoodle. He recently returned from Iraq where he conducted research for his thesis, which he hopes to adapt into a book.

In December, 2009, his research was featured in the scientific journal Nature.

Sean Gourley on the TED blog


5 unconventional maps to get lost in

September 18, 2013

From the earliest days of human exploration we’ve made progressively more accurate and sophisticated maps. Maps help us find our way around the world we live in. Maps help us get to our destination. Maps keep us from becoming lost. But what if you have no destination? What if becoming lost is the point? Well, […]

Continue reading

TED Fellow Sean Gourley published in Nature

December 16, 2009

TED Fellow Sean Gourley spoke at TED University 2009 about the mathematics of war — how he and his team of mathematicians, physicists and computer scientists uncovered a strong mathematical relationship linking the fatality and frequency of insurgent attacks. Today, TED is absolutely thrilled to tell you that this research has been published in the […]

Continue reading

The week in comments

May 9, 2009

This week’s comment round-up is a tribute to TED.com’s spiffy new commenting system, that lets you rate others’ statements up or down and have threaded conversations! Rather than using our own editorial tastes to select comments, today we’ve let you, the community, pick your top 5. Here are the highest rated comments on each talk […]

Continue reading