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.