An invitation to a brainstorm

Who of us would not be glad to lift the veil behind which the future lies hidden; to cast a glance at the next advances of our science and at the secrets of its development during future centuries? What particular goals will there be toward which the leading [geoscientific] spirits of coming generations will strive? What new methods and new facts in the wide and rich field of [geoscientific] thought will the new centuries disclose?

— Adapted from David Hilbert (1902). Mathematical Problems, Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society 8 (10), p 437–479. Originally appeared in in Göttinger Nachrichten, 1900, pp. 253–297.

Back at the end of October, just before the SEG Annual Meeting, I did some whining about conferences: so many amazing, creative, energetic geoscientists, doing too much listening and not enough doing. The next day, I proposed some ways to make conferences for productive — for us as scientists, and for our science itself. 

Evan and I are chairing a new kind of session at the Calgary GeoConvention this year. What does ‘new kind of session’ mean? Here’s the lowdown:

The Unsolved Problems Unsession at the 2013 GeoConvention will transform conference attendees, normally little more than spectators, into active participants and collaborators. We are gathering 60 of the brightest, sparkiest minds in exploration geoscience to debate the open questions in our field, and create new approaches to solving them. The nearly 4-hour session will look, feel, and function unlike any other session at the conference. The outcome will be a list of real problems that affect our daily work as subsurface professionals — especially those in the hard-to-reach spots between our disciplines. Come and help shed some light, room 101, Tuesday 7 May, 8:00 till 11:45.

What you can do

  • Where does your workflow stumble? Think up the most pressing unsolved problems in your workflows — especially ones that slow down collaboration between the disciplines. They might be organizational, they might be technological, they might be scientific.
  • Put 7 May in your calendar and come to our session! Better yet, bring a friend. We can accommodate about 60 people. Be one of the first to experience a new kind of session!
  • If you would like to help host the event, we're looking for 5 enthusiastic volunteers to play a slightly enlarged role, helping guide the brainstorming and capture the goodness. You know who you are. Email