NZ Ted Fellow 2009

It’s true I’m a TEDhead and if we’ve met it would be unusual if I didn’t mention the TED conference videos at some point.

One of the incredible delights of the today is that even though we read less; if we can find time to watch an 18 minute video – paradoxically we have even greater access to some of the best minds in the world  via TED and sites like it.

In my house we call it Teducation and personally I just love being able to get an idea of what the best subject matter experts in the work are thinking about their chosen topics and what they actually care about.

Even better when they have only 18 minutes to express their passion (which is the standard TED format) that is short enough to be useful but not too long if the presentation sucks.

This week TED announced A TED Fellows programme for this year and buried away in the detail was the name Sean Gourley described as  Physicist/military theorist; Rhodes Scholar. New Zealand

Sean has been away in the UK on a Rhodes Scholarship for the past few years but his background from Canterbury University is

Bachelor of Science with Honours and Master of Science in Physics
Sean 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.

Over on younoodle it says that Sean is a

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

So what is the Ted Fellow award and how can we be involved?

I think we can all 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. My TED profile is here but anyone can join – check the joining TED blurb here.

Getting into a conference and paying the $US6k 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 a TED fellows sponsorship programme.

Go Sean Gourley @ TED .  For more detail download the TED fellows PDF and check page 21 of 45. Some of the other Fellows like Patrick Awuah we have seen in action before and I have also spent time on Jennifers Brea‘s blogs in the past as well. Her work on Africabeat is worth reading.

If you read this Sean – make sure all of those guests know that NZ is not just a rock in the Pacific or Fiji with snow – but a really vibrant community of creativity and world class thinking.

Update:4th Feb We are following Sean via his twitter feed in the top right sidebar / see comments.

Sean says

  • Talk to me about – Politics, Venture Capital and innovation, Mathematics, Physics, running, single malt scotch, the latest book I have to read or movie I should go see.

For background on the Fellowship programme:

Ted Fellows

“Introducing TED Fellows, our new international program that will bring 50 eclectic, up-and-coming world-changers to our Long Beach and Oxford conferences each year….

All TED Fellows will receive special benefits including pre-conference programs, training from world-class communications professionals, the opportunity to give short TEDTalks at TED University, the opportunity to spread their ideas on, a private social network and more. Of course, TED will cover their conference fees, travel and lodging.

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.

These men and women were selected for their achievement but especially for their promise. Each of them shows real potential to create positive change in their field — whether it’s technology, entertainment, design, music, art, science, business or the NGO community — in their country, and even around the world.”

However ;  I can’t help thinking that some of our brightest TED prospects are now outside the university systems especially in the creative sectors.

What do you think -?  Who would you nominate as a representative of your sector, company, organisation or country. Who are the unusual suspects?

Here is hoping that Sean enjoys his time at TED and reports back.

TED 2009 Conference starts 3 Feb (today – depending on your timezone.)

If I was at the conference I’d be keen to see Daniel Lebskind, Oliver Sacks, Herbie Hancock, Dan Ariely and Liz Coleman for starters. Jacek Utko thinks good design can save the newspaper? He will be presenting on that — and good luck with that one from me.

For more on the TED Conference 09  speakers

Really I’d love to be at TED one day but the next best thing is helping a smart New Zealander make it there. Lets nominate some more TED fellows for next year and trust that Sean will have a great time this trip.

The third best thing to being at TED are the T shirts. Premo purveyor of T’s to the thoughtful REMO Generalstore is the TED T-shirt supplier so Australia are already doing their bit for TED.

Founder Remo Giuffré is at TED – Remo on twitter

#TED: My Name Badge. Needs to be worn at all times. Security ... on TwitPic

Footnote: As always if you are at TED 09 – feel free to add a comment here or contact me via TED or LinkedIn.

We really enjoyed David Cowan‘s posts from TED last year (Check the Dave Eggers post) and Brian Sweeney’s notes before that.

The TED prize is webcast live at Thursday 5th Feb at 5 pm US Pacific Time. LA time is currently

For NZ – this makes local time of 2 pm Friday 6th or Friday Feb 6 12 noon for Sydney, NSW readers. For your location you may want to double check the meeting planner.

TED prize winners this conference are deep ocean explorer Sylvia Earle, astronomer Jill Cornell Tarter, maestro José Antonio Abreu.   I’m sure they are all great but I especially like the sound of :

Jose Abreu, a retired economist, trained musician, and social reformer founded El Sistema (“the system”) in 1975 based on the conviction that what poor Venezuelan kids needed was classical music. After 30 years and 10 different political administrations, El Sistema is now a nationwide organization of 102 youth orchestras, 55 children’s orchestras and 270 music centers.

Update: Some of this post have also been added to Idealog Blog