It’s not quite Ed Sullivan’s variety show, but the annual meeting of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) begs the question – what recession?

The show, being held Oct. 25-29, is always a happening event. But the current economic situation, coupled with the choice of Houston as a locale, had some worried. After all, when the going gets tough, travel budgets are often the first things to be cut. And the oil industry folks based in Houston often feel conflicted by work and family obligations, limiting their attendance at the show.

Not to worry, as it turns out. At a recent Geophysical Society of Houston luncheon, SEG General Chairman Roy Clark said that preregistration was already at 6,400, a new record. People from 60 countries are traveling to the event, also a new record.

Perhaps the most telling indicator is the fact that the SEG had to expand its exhibit space not once but twice due to the overwhelming demand from companies wishing to showcase their technologies and services.

This is good news in these troubled times. The geophysical industry has not been immune to the downturn any more than any other segment, yet people still flock to shows like SEG to learn more about the profession. And it’s not just the conferences that are successful – SEG’s two publications, The Leading Edge and Geophysics, have received so many contributions that they’ve often run special supplements to accommodate them.

Maybe people just have more time on their hands. But I don’t think that’s it. As a watcher and purveyor of information about exploration technology, I find these exciting times indeed. So many new technologies, from acquisition through processing and interpretation, have come into play in just a few short years. R&D efforts continue at a frantic pace. Those who attend the show are likely to learn a lot in a short time from browsing the booths, attending papers, and talking to poster presenters.

I wouldn’t miss it for the world.