Frederick (Fred for short) Bernard Wood III’s lifetime spanned several major periods of US and global socioeconomic, cultural, military, technology, and geopolitical change. Dr. Wood was born December 17, 1917 in Sacramento, CA, at the end of World War I. He was the son of Frederick Bertram Wood and Alice Satterthwaite Wood. The Woods had come to California from Michigan, Bertram having attended Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, where he earned his BA and LLB degrees, and Alice a librarian by training. Bertram and Alice made their first home in Sacramento, the California State Capitol, where Bertram began the practice of law combined with a career of public service.

Fred Bernard grew up during the post-war transition, Great Depression, and World War II. His father was heavily involved in the emergence of California as a major State of the Union, and early organization of the California State Government to meet the challenges of rapid growth and development. Living in California, the Woods were somewhat protected from the difficulties of the depression years. Fred Bernard was a gifted student, and his parents were fully supportive of his further education. Fred Bernard graduated from Berkeley High School and enrolled at the University of California at Berkeley in 1937, to pursue studies in electrical engineering.

Then came World War II. Fred Bernard was graduated early with his Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering, along with many of his classmates, to report for duty in the US military. Fred Bernard was a member of the US Army ROTC (Reserve Officers Training Corp), and immediately upon graduation was selected for a key civilian post working on military radar technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to counter the Nazi threat.

During World War II, Dr. Wood worked at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Radiation Laboratory in Cambridge, MA, where he helped develop the SCR-584 microwave radar used by U.S. and Allied military forces in defeating the Axis Powers, and on other projects. His MIT work was carried out under the auspices of the White House Office of Research and Development. During this time he met and married Elizabeth Neumann Mead in the First Unitarian Church of Boston.

The couple, along with their first son, then returned to the University of California at Berkeley where he worked at the CB Radiation Lab and earned the Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Electrical Engineering. In 1952 Fred joined IBM Corporation where he worked until 1980 as a systems engineer, mostly in research and advanced systems development, in San Jose and Los Gatos, CA.

He was a lifelong advocate and practitioner of the system sciences. In 1954 he was a founding member of the Society for General Systems Research (now known as the International Society for the Systems Sciences). He presented scientific papers throughout the United States and in Toronto, London, and Budapest, among others, and participated in study missions to Russia and Cuba. Dr. Wood was also founder and President of the Computer Social Impact Research Institute of San Jose, CA, and officer of the Earth Regeneration Society of Berkeley, CA.

He was also a long-time advocate of socially responsible use of science and technology, and especially computer technology, and published a series of working papers called “Communications Theory in the Cause of Man”. He focused on global climate change beginning in the mid-1980s, and then on advanced electromagnetic applications beginning in the early 1990s—including potential new energy devices that could produce energy from the active physical vacuum (or quantum vacuum) more cleanly and cheaply than fossil fuel energy sources.

In recent years, he continued his early focus on factors important to the survival of modern civilization and democratic societies. He was a life-long member of the Unitarian-Universalist religion and associated with Unitarian churches in Boston, Berkeley, San Jose, and most recently Flagstaff.

Fred died of a heart attack March 29, 2006, at age 88 in his home in Flagstaff.

He is survived by two sons, Frederick Bruce Wood of Arlington, VA, and Peter Mead Wood of Portland, OR; daughter-in-law Erica F. Wood of Arlington, VA; three granddaughters Jessica Mead Wood, Rebecca Walton Wood, and Melissa Alice Wood; and two cousins Ruth Satterthwaite Hartmann of Bethesda, MD, and Camilla Satterthwaite Munson of Seattle, WA.

Just a little more than two weeks before Fred passed on, he did an interview for the StoryCorps, a grassroots effort to record the stories of Americans to be archived for future generations at the American Folklife Center of the US Library of Congress. For Fred’s StoryCorps interview, see the transcript.


Frederick Bernard Wood was the son of Frederick Bertram Wood and grandson of Frederick Bissell Wood. While technically not the exact namesake of his father and grandfather, Fred Bernard was commonly referred to as Fred III or FBW III as well as FB, Fred, and Frederick. In later years, he tended to self-identify as Fred Bernard, in part to clearly distinguish himself from his father Frederick Bertram and his son Frederick Bruce.

The paternal Wood side of the family hailed from Michigan, as did his maternal Satterthwaite side. His mother Alice Satterthwaite Wood was from Tecumseh, Michigan, and had two sisters (Geneva and Beth) and two brothers (Perry and Joseph). Both the Wood and Satterthwaite families were well represented by varied professionals, including public servants, teachers, inventors, and entrepreneurs. Alice Satterthwaite was a librarian, Geneva a teacher, Beth a nurse, Perry a businessman (founded Tecumseh Products), and Joseph a career foreign service officer and US ambassador to several countries, and the first US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. Fred Bernard’s father, as noted earlier, earned his law degree at Stanford University, and began the westward movement of these two family lines.

Frederick Bertram ended up staying in California for his entire professional career. In addition to the private practice of law in Sacramento, California, he served with distinction as Legislative Counsel to the California State Legislature, and later as Associate Justice of the California State Court of Appeals for the Northern District (San Francisco). Fred Bernard’s aunt, Dorothy Wood, attended Stanford Medical School and practiced medicine in the San Francisco Bay Area until her passing. Fred Bernard’s brother, Perry Satterthwaite Wood, graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in Engineering, and served with distinction as Navigation Officer of the USS Spadefish in the Pacific Theatre during World War II. The Spadefish set records for number and tonnage of ships sunk on the Pacific front. Perry Wood had a successful career in Electrical Construction Contracting.

Childhood & Educational years (1917-1952)


While born in Sacramento, CA, on December 17, 1917, Fred Bernard grew up in Berkeley CA, attended public schools in Alameda County, which included both Berkeley and Oakland. By his own accounts, he was both a strong student and a questioning student, who did not accept the standard answers or concepts just because the teacher said. He was already testing and pushing the limits of conventional knowledge. From his own account:

In high school in Oakland (1933-36), I helped organize the Alembic Society, which was a watch-dog for the public interest. We compared the public statements of school board members and their corporate friends from PG&E, PacTel, RREq&Rlty, StdOil, etc., with what the corporations and the school board were actually doing. We found serious discrepancies between what they said and did. The school board then tried to transfer any teachers who let us bring our findings up in class, to teaching remedial reading classes. We also found that some of the top Republican Party leaders in California were working with Al Capone to appoint 50 Chicago Gangsters to be California State Police, but we decided to let the League of Women Voters deal with that problem.

University of California, Berkeley undergraduate studies

Fred majored in Electrical Engineering and experimented with methods of learning key features and developments in philosophy, economics, political science, biology, and sociology, in addition to formal engineering courses through seminars at student YMCA (Stiles Hall) and YWCA.

Massachusettes Institute of Technology (MIT) Radiation Laboratory and World War II

Pearl Harbor and the US declaration of war against Germany and the Axis Powers resulted in mobilization of all available talent to not only fight on the frontlines, but to staff the Nation’s research, technical, and manufacturing centers to gear up for the technology, weapons, and support infrastructure that would be needed on both the Atlantic and Pacific fronts.

By the luck of the draw, and his diminutive size but outsized technical skills, Fred Bernard was decommissioned from the US Army ROTC and assigned to a civilian post as part of the core team working on new radar technology at MIT. It was this assignment that brought him into the Boston, Massachusetts, metropolitan area, where he eventually met his future wife, Elizabeth Neumann Mead. Ms. Mead, a native New Englander, graduate of Mt. Holyoke College, and high school English teacher at the time, met Fred Bernard at the First Unitarian Church of Boston. They were married at that same church in 1943.

At MIT, Fred developed RADAR microwave circuits and test equipment, wrote instruction manuals, and worked with biologists to optimize RADAR test procedures to be more compatible with characteristics of RADAR operators. He designed part of SCR-584 RADAR microwave circuits; demonstrated operation of circuits to convince Pentagon Committee and General Electric Co. to proceed with production of SCR-584, which was successful in directing shooting down 95% of German V-1 Rocket Bombs, and tracking V-2 Bombs so Air Force could locate launching pads for bombing. He also organized the library of Radar test equipment that was used by the MIT Library for almost 25 years.

He participated in seminars of Technology Christian Association (YMCA) and Arlington Street Church (Unitarian) and developed a three-dimensional chart of topics discussed at these church seminars (implemented by a “skyscraper” built out of an erector set). This chart turned out to be a rediscovery of the classification systems of sociologists August Comte (1830) and Lester Ward (1900) and had connections with the topics discussed in letters between Lester Ward, Herbert Spencer, and Karl Marx. He audited sociology courses at Harvard University in 1945 and was a member of the General Committee of Arlington Street Church.

Frederick Bernard and Elizabeth Mead Wood had two children, Frederick Bruce Wood born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1945, and Peter Mead Wood, born in Oakland, California, in 1948. The Woods had moved from Cambridge MA to Berkeley CA in early 1946, a few months after the end of WWII.

University of California, Berkeley graduate studies

While studying for his masters and Ph.D degrees, he was a part-time staff member at UC Berkeley Radiation Laboratory (Manhattan District) and UC Electronics Laboratory (Air Force). He completed his master’s degree with research on microwave coupling and included studies in the Economics Department on the potential applications of nuclear power. He completed Ph.D. qualifying examinations and a dissertation, "Coupling of Energy Between Electromagnetic Resonators and Waveguides."

In an International Economics course, Fred and classmates had trouble publishing papers because, according to Fred, "Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and Standard Oil of California were fighting over who would control the development of atomic energy for electric power generation. The report we prepared was suppressed by pressures believed to come from the State Department and the Atomic Energy Commission."

At this time he was active in the First Unitarian Church of Berkeley; the National Council of the Arts, Sciences and
Professions; Federation of American Sciences; and the Berkeley Interracial Committee.

San Jose Years (1952-1980)

IBM Corporation

At the IBM Corporation he worked in a variety of subject areas: Computer Memories, Geophysical Cycles, Computer-Communications Systems, Remote Computing from Local Terminals, Error Correcting Codes, Compression Coding, and Computer Simulation of Microprocessor Chip Algorithms.

Fred started out with IBM in 1952 as a Technical Engineer in the Engineering Laboratory in San Jose, California, where he did Research on dielectric storage, coherers and bistable transformers as potential memory elements.

In 1955 he became an Associate Engineer in the laboratory, where he built a demonstration unit of von Neumann’s concept of reliable computer elements formed from unreliable elements in parallel. He obtained a parallel coherer memory patent (#2,899,657) with E.A. Quade, and analyzed different forms of magnetic recording for computer use. He prepared a matrix of possible methods of data input/output with computers and obtained a patent (#2,957,315) on a facsimile system using the Peltier effect. He prepared tables of turnaround time and possible error rates for American Airlines SABRF Reservation System, and analyzed characteristics of telephone lines for data transmission.

In 1957 he was promoted to Staff Engineer and was on three IBM committees involving a number of communication theory, decision theory, and coding theory problems. His contribution to the information retrieval report dealt principally with the magnitude of worldwide environmental measurements, collection and analyses to warn of impending catastrophic changes in the atmosphere that might lead to melting of the polar ice caps or an early ice age. At the Western Joint Computer Conference in San Francisco he presented his now renowned paper on the social responsibility of engineers.

It was during this time that he developed his philosophy of the individual engineer having three parallel roles in society:

  • CORPORATION ENGINEER on the Engineering/Economic Level
  • CYBERNETIC SYSTEMS CONSULTANT & PHILOSOPHER on the Abstract/Philosophical Level.
  • CITIZEN on the Humanistic/Intuitive Level.

He was promoted to Staff Engineer in the IBM Advanced Systems Development Laboratory (ASDD) in San Jose in 1960. He created standards for error-detecting codes and studied problems of remote scientific computing.

In 1961 he became Manager of Remote Scientific Computing and Coding, where he studied image transmission and compression methods. The next year he moved on to Manager of Code Evaluation and Image Transmission, then was named Project Engineer for voice recognition projects, such as a computer programs to generate photo-digital tracks for voice-typewriter

From 1964 to 1969, Fred continued with IBM as a Staff Engineer in the ASDD Lab in Los Gatos, California. He analyzed streaming processor alternative computer architecture; reviewed the state of the art in scientific information retrieval; developed a simulation control program for 27NT control unit; analyzed information compression systems; analyzed coding problems for mobile police radio computer terminals; ran experiment tests of digital coded police radio system and analyzed effectiveness of different error control systems; and developed software for bringing facsimile data into a Systems 360 Computer system.

At the 1964 Conference on The Cybercultural Revolution in New York City, he participated in a discussion of negentropy, and then presented a paper on negentropy and social systems at the International Association for Social Psychiatry in London in 1964. He also presented a paper on cybernetics and political systems at Georgetown University, Washington D.C.

During his last decade with IBM, starting in 1970, Fred worked as an Advisory Engineer, first in the ASDD Laboratory, then the Communications Systems Division, also in Los Gatos; and then at the Development Laboratory, General Products Division, back in San Jose. He worked on development of microcode computer programs for testing a new computer system and developed software simulation of COMDEC microchip for both testing efficiency of compression algorithm and for producing test sample compressed and reconstructed documents. He completed the detail code for an automatic conversion system to translate designs in one generation of microchips to the next generation of microchips and experimented with Computer Assisted Design systems (CAD).

After 29 years of service, he retired from IBM Corporation in 1980.

Memberships in Engineering and Scientific Societies
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • American Society for Cybernetics
  • Association for Computing Machinery Special Interest Group on Computers and Society
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers
    • Computer Society
    • Information Theory Society
    • Society on Social Implications of Technology
    • Systems, Man and Cybernetics Society
  • International Society for the Systems Sciences (formerly the Society for General Systems Research)
  • National Society of Professional Engineers
  • New york Academy of Sciences
  • Phi Beta Kappa Society
  • Sigma Xi (Scientific Research Society)
  • The Society for Computer Simulation

Political, Philosophical, and Social Work

Fred kept up his political side during these years. He helped organize a legal protest for the San Jose Unitarian Church against California State Loyalty Oath for Church Officers in connection with church property tax exemption. He maintained liaison with American Unitarian Association lawyers during the successful appeal of the case in U.S. Supreme Court. He attended peace seminars at Stanford University Political Science Department

He participated in the organization of the Society for General Systems Research (SGSR) at Stanford and Berkeley in 1954. In 1960 he published his pamphlet on the social responsibility of engineers for the Society for Social Responsibility in Science and appeared on Radio Station KPFA to discuss the theme. At this time, he also started a series of working paper drafts, Socio-Engineering Problems Reports (SEPR) on the social implications of technology. In 1962 he became president of the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of SGSR and organized monthly meetings at Berkeley and Stanford for a number of years. At the 1963 SGSR-AAAS Meeting in Philadelphia, he presented a paper on the relationship between communication entropy or negentropy in electrical communication systems and the balance between freedom and stability in social systems. In 1975, he presented a paper on communication entropy at the IEEE International Conference on Communications, San Francisco, and a paper on a quasi-completeness theorem in general systems theory at SGSR Meeting, London in 1979. He also organized a SGSR-Special Interest Group (SIG) on Philosophy & Theory .

Starting in 1970, he published a magazine, Communication Theory in the Cause of Man , which dealt with "the application of General Systems Theory, Cybernetics, Information Theory, and related fields of Communication Theory to the strengthening of democratic institutions on our planet".

In 1978, he established, was president, and served on the Board of Directors of the non-profit Computer Social Impact Research Institute, Inc. to handle public service work after retirement from IBM. He published loose-leaf book of the cumulated and re-collated back issues of the magazine, Communication Theory in the Cause of Man .

During Fred Bernard’s IBM years in San Jose, he also was active in other local and national organizations. These included the San Jose Peace Center, where he volunteered for numerous peace advocacy activities; the San Jose Unitarian Church where he chaired the long range planning committee for many years and was an active member of the church leadership team; the Bay Area Systems Group which as noted he helped organize and lead, and was the local focal point for activities of the Society for General Systems Research; the American Society for Cybernetics, in which he participated in both SF Bay Area and national professional activities; and the Society for Social Responsibility of Science and Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, both of which related closely to his strong interest in social responsibility of scientists and engineers. He was active with the SF Bay Area activities of the CPSR, and helped organize several local events sponsored by the CPSR, which for many years was headquartered near Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA.

“Retirement years" in San Jose (1980-2002)

As illustrated above, though Fred Bernard retired from IBM in the sense of no longer working for IBM the corporation, he did not “retire” in the traditional sense. He continued working full time, or overtime, on the causes that were dear to his heart and soul.

His approach during his San Jose retirement was to pursue his key themes through a range of activities. Constructive and participatory social change was a constant priority throughout these years, as it was throughout his adult life. He wrote and attended meetings and conferences on the need for conscious, peaceful co-evolution of all segments of human society. He was particularly taken by the work of Barbara Marx Hubbard, and attended some of her seminars in Santa Barbara CA. He incorporated Hubbard’s concept of conscious evolution into his own work. He continued to support the work of a broad range of peace and humanitarian organizations.

While Fred Bernard felt that it was necessary to work in the technical support of the Allied forces during World War II, to stop the Nazi aggression, he always believed that in general war was not the answer to global geopolitical issues. He strongly supported the United Nations and all efforts to find peaceful ways to resolve international conflicts.

Fred Bernard strongly identified with Nature and the Environment. He gained strength and inspiration from hiking and camping in the varied California foothills and mountains. Hiking was his favorite form of exercise. During the 1980s his health was still good enough to permit him to do regular hikes in several different parks in the San Francisco Bay Area. Hiking for him was another form of meditation, and communing with Nature. He was painfully aware of the negative effects of industrialization and development on the natural environment.

For one year in 1981 he was a Computer Science Instructor at Evergreen Valley College. For the next 8 years he served as a volunteer consultant to Environmental Groups and presented papers on glacial cycles and climate change at conferences all over the world.

Earth Regeneration Society

In the 1980s, Fred Bernard’s concern for environmental issues came to the forefront. In 1983, he helped found the non-profit Earth Regeneration Society, Inc.(ERS) with Alden Bryant in Berkeley, California. The ERS made a 30-day environmental tour of the Soviet Union in 1984. For many years, Fred Bernard served as Treasurer of ERS. By the mid-1980s, Alden and Fred Bernard saw climate change as a major issue, and from that point on climate change was a high priority for work of the ERS, and also of the Computer Social Impact Research Institute.

I believe that US Government agencies suppresed the normal process of research on the Earth’s glaciation cycles between 1977 and 1987 to help protect the petroleum industry from the impact of environmental studies. This lapse of research could lead to our planet going into glaciation in the next ten or twenty years, resulting in approx. two billion people dying of starvation and the collapse of most governments on our planet.

from his paper "My Early Introduction to Politics and a Warning for the Future"

Fred Bernard Wood and Alden Bryant, and their colleagues, used the ERS and CSIRI as vehicles to bring issues of climate and global change to the attention of anyone and any group that would listen. They co-authored the book Whose World to Lose?; they prepared numerous papers and issue briefs, and presented on these issues at several of the SGSR/ISSS conferences in the USA and overseas, as well as at many other conferences worldwide.. They sent ERS issue briefs repeatedly to their congressional delegation and to State and Federal political leaders, and to environmental, labor union, civil liberties, and other advocacy groups.

In addition to his role as ERS Treasurer, Fred Bernard served as a senior technical and scientific advisor to ERS. He used CSIRI as the platform for developing systems analyses of global environmental issues, and then incorporated those analyses into the ERS program. Fred Bernard and Alden were among the first to see the interconnections between energy, food, water, environment, economics, and the overall health and well being of humankind. They strongly identified with the Gaia concept of the living Earth, popularized by Christopher Lovelock.

It was within this larger context that Alden and Fred Bernard made their historic month-long trip across the Soviet Union, to see and understand first hand the environmental and related challenges facing the Soviets. This trip was one of the most extensive made by visiting US scientists before the break up of the Soviet Union. This trip also led to some continuing collaboration and correspondence between Fred Bernard and a handful of Soviet computer science and earth science specialists. Fred Bernard came to realize that at the level of working scientists, there was shared concern in the Soviet Union as well as in the USA about the growing environmental and resource challenges facing the Planet Earth.

As noted, Alden and Fred Bernard were strong advocates of reforestation, remineralization, and sustainable agriculture, as key parts of the solution set for addressing global environmental and climate changes issues. They collaborated with other organizations with similar missions, and for a time seriously pursued business opportunities for the sale and distribution of glacial rock dust (for remineralization) and other eco-friendly products and services. None of those ventures was financially successful, in large part because they were way ahead of their time in terms of public and investor awareness.

In 1994, he began serving as a member of the board of directors for Corlan, Environmental, Inc, in Boerne, TX, a commercial start-up company producing chemicals for toxic clean-up. That same year, he went to Cuba on a Global Exchange trip, where he was evaluating the soil nutrition problems in Cuba to see, if food production could be increased by remineralizing the soil with locally available trace minerals. In 1996 he began working as an adjunct professor for the doctoral dissertation committee at the Union Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Sociology & Electromagnetics

Fred Bernard turned once more to his technical and scientific roots to emphasize two additional themes. One was his growing concern about the survival of the current global civilization. Fred Bernard was interested in sociology from at least as early as his high school days, and had studied the work of scholars such as Pitirim Sorokin and Arnold Toynbee. He knew full well that to date no civilization had survived indefinitely. His concern about the potential severity of global climate change, and the geologic history of glacial and interglacial cycles, raised his level of awareness that humankind could be at risk yet again.

Also in the mid-1990s, Fred Bernard reactivated his long-time interest in advanced electromagnetics. This interest centered around the view from his college days that there were additional dimensions of electromagnetic field activity beyond those recognized in conventional electromagnetics. He restudied the work of James Clerk Maxwell, the generally recognized father of electromagnetics, and found that Maxwell’s original work included references to several other variables and implied dimensions and complexities to electromagnetics. However, in the late 1800s other scientists had simplified Maxwell’s work in the rush to encourage practical applications, and because the broader nonlinear, extra dimensionality, quantum basis for electromagnetics had not yet been discovered by mainstream science. At the time Fred Bernard was a student at the University of California, there was no encouragement to go what at the time would have been well outside the box of recognized theory and science.

The new, advanced electromagnetics would, however, have both positive and negative potential applications. And Fred Bernard gave attention to both, using his usual systems approach. On the positive side, the new electromagnetics offered the potential of clean, efficient, and low cost energy, that could be a major part of addressing and resolving climate change and other environmental issues. On the downside, the advanced electromagnetics also offered many possibilities for weaponization. In the mid to late 1990s, Fred Bernard collaborated closely with LTC (Ret) Tom Bearden, who had by that time already completed exhaustive studies of the Soviet Union’s presumed testing, development, and perhaps actual use of advanced electromagnetic weapons.

Fred Bernard pursued a three-track strategy. He worked with Tom Bearden to attempt to assure that the USA was not vulnerable to surprise or covert attack by the Former Soviet Union using advanced EM weapons. He collaborated with EM researchers and civil liberties advocates concerned about possible covert use of such weapons by rogue elements of the US military and intelligence communities, possibly against US citizens. And he partnered with Bearden and with Alden Bryant and other new energy analysts to advocate for fair consideration of new energy options in addressing the US and global energy, environmental, and climate issues.

Toward the end of his San Jose years, Fred Bernard began to encounter more serious personal health issues. This intensified his core life-long interest in complementary and alternative health. Faced with a diagnosis of systemic artherosclerosis, he embarked on an extensive CAM program that included vitamins and supplements, chiropractic, chelation therapy, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and electromagnetic therapy. While the impact of these therapies cannot be accurately known, he did muster enough personal energy and motivation to “retire” for a second time, to Flagstaff AZ, in 2003.

“Second Retirement”years in Flagstaff (2003-2006)

Global Future & Higher Consciousness

Starting about the 2000 Millennium Year, Fred Bernard was faced with several challenges. First, he was increasingly concerned about the possibilities of some sort of global catastrophe that might have devastating consequences for humankind. He was focused specifically on the so-called Planet X scenario, whereby a 10th planet in far elliptical orbit around the Sun would return to transit the inner solar system and come close enough to the Earth to cause giant tsunamis that could overwhelm many low-lying areas around the world. These vulnerable areas included San Jose and a large part of Santa Clara County and the tidelands around the San Francisco Bay. San Jose itself is only about ten to twenty feet above sea level, well below the project height of several tsunami scenarios. Fred Bernard also was attuned to other global change scenarios such as pole shifts and asteroid impacts on Earth that have happened in geologic time with enormous impacts.

Combined with climate change, this concern about global change was one of the factors that motivated Fred Bernard to seek another living locale. Dean House, his housemate at the time in San Jose, had spent many years in the Northern Arizona area generally, and Flagstaff AZ in particular. Dean planted the seed of possibly moving to Arizona. Flagstaff is at an altitude of over 7,000 feet above sea level, and obviously well protected from the effects of even the largest tsunami imaginable.

In addition, Fred Bernard was increasingly interested in a wide range of prophecies and projections of longer-term social and geologic and perhaps even spiritual change. This interest extended to prophecies of Indigenous Peoples and in the US, the Hopi Indians in particular. Various Hopi elders have spoken and written about a coming social and Earth transformation, roughly on the same time scale as other 2012 prophecies. It happens that Flagstaff AZ is within a few hours drive of both the Hopi Nation and the Navajo Nation. Fred Bernard was drawn to move to an area where he could have greater direct access to Indian elders who could share their insights into social change.

Also, Flagstaff was symbolic to Fred Bernard of his quest for higher consciousness of the universe and of other dimensions and intelligences. For many years, he had closely identified with the quest for the so-called Noosphere, the knowledge and intelligence of higher consciousness about Earthly, planetary, and galactic evolution and beyond. He was a long-time member of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, which was in the forefront of the science of higher consciousness. He seemed to have some third (or fourth) sense that Flagstaff might be his pathway to higher consciousness and perhaps to the Stars. Flagstaff is the home of the world renown Lowell Observatory, and it was attractive to Fred to have access to a world class observatory with relatively clear skies (compared to urbanized areas like San Jose).

Finally, at this juncture in Fred Bernard’s life, he was facing significant financial and health issues. The cost of living in San Jose and the Silicon Valley in general continued to rise, and outpace his retirement income. Staying in his San Jose house for additional years looked less feasible, and he was unable to find acceptable alternative care arrangements in the SF Bay Area. The move to Flagstaff helped alleviate his financial crunch, and also provided him a new venue for staying in-home for his final years, which he preferred over institutional arrangements. Dean House helped facilitate live-in care arrangements with Lorraine Ferrante, LPN, and her partner Larry Wood (no relation to Fred Bernard Wood). A geriatric care manager from nearby Sedona AZ, Kate McGahan, MSW, provided general oversight and occasional check-in.

Fred Bernard’s professional work in Flagstaff focused on revisiting his “Green Cube” for systemic analysis of social change on three dimensions: scientific discipline (e.g., physics, astronomy, sociology, electrical engineering); level of society (e.g., individual to groups to organizations on local, community, regional, national, and international levels); and type of social activity (e.g., research, education, advocacy, social change, political change). The Green Cube symbolizes his belief that a multi-dimensional, systems approach to understanding social evolution can provide the more robust understanding, than a more compartmented, fragmented approach typical of much social endeavor.

Disseminating his Life Work

While in Flagstaff, he conducted extensive web searches for information on topics relevant to his life-long priority concerns, and newly emergent issues that tied into his global perspective or were otherwise of interest. He compiled binders of search results on hundreds of topics and subtopics. He also continued to maintain his filing system and his book collection, both of which were shipped intact from San Jose CA to Flagstaff AZ when he made the move in mid-2003. He also continued to maintain a journal of daily or occasional working notes, as he had been doing for several decades.

Fred Bernard Wood’s greatest frustrations at end of life were his inability to get his life work widely disseminated, and the perceived roadblocks to convincing the political, governmental, and business communities that a broader, higher level, more systemic approach would of greater benefit to all. He remained committed to the view that a peaceful, humanitarian, democratic (with a small “d”), sustainable and environmental friendly, participatory, and conscious co-evolutionary approach would maximize the ability of the current US and global civilization to live long and prosper, where other societies have failed.

This web site is intended to address in substantial part Fred Bernard Wood’s inability to disseminate his life work. He was part and parcel of the computer revolution that swept the US and the world in the post-World War II years, and he like other early computer scientists and engineers envisioned the vast potential for facilitating information dissemination and dialog. But the bulk of his professional and scientific work occurred well prior to the Internet revolution. Much of his life work existed only in paper format or in obsolete electronic formats.

Hopefully, now, the power of the Internet and World Wide Web can be applied to his life work, for the benefit of all.

It was Thomas Jefferson who once said, in effect, that an informed electorate is the strongest weapon in the arsenal of democracy.

It would be Frederick Bernard Wood’s fondest hope that this web site can provide information, ideas, and concepts that may prove useful to the citizens of the US and the world, and their leaders in all sectors of society, in finding future directions for our highest path and purpose, and the collective good of all.

Memorial Announcement

For Frederick Bernard Wood, PhD, born 12/17/17, died 3/29/06

Family and friends of the late Dr. Fred Wood III will gather at 1:00 pm on Saturday, April 15, 2006, to mourn his passing and honor his life-long commitment to world peace, civil liberties, religious freedom, environmental protection, and the use of science and technology for humane, peaceful purposes. (See attached obituary.)

MEMORIAL SERVICE: 1:00pm – 2:30pm

Time will be provided for family and friends to express their own thoughts on the life, hopes, and dreams of Dr. Fred Wood III.

RECEPTION FOLLOWING: 2:30pm – 3:30pm


Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship of Flagstaff
510 North Leroux Street, P.O. Box 1151
Flagstaff, AZ 86002, ph:928-779-4492

In lieu of flowers, charitable contributions may be made to:
New Energy Movement; International Society for the Systems Sciences; American Friends Service Committee.

Memorial Service

To Honor the Life and Dreams
Of Frederick Bernard Wood

April 15th, 2006
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship,
Of Flagstaff, Arizona


Program of Service

Chalice Lighting

Opening Remarks
Rev. Wendy Williams

Expressions by Family Members


Expressions by Friends


Closing Remarks
Rev. Wendy Williams

Reception Following


Assistance with Memorial Service
Rev. Wendy Williams
UUFlag Volunteer Staff
Lorraine Ferrante
Wood Family

Art Work
Jessica Wood


Memorial Library

FBWIII was a true believer in the value and power of books.  Throughout his professional life, he bought books on the vast array of topics and disciplines that caught his attention.  These books ranged from historical and theoretical works, to analyses of current practical issues and challenges, to projections and visions of prospective or possible futures.  His volume of books always seemed to exceed even the ever expanding amount of shelf space provided at his several homes in Berkeley and Kensington, CA, San Jose, CA (two), and his final home in Flagstaff, AZ.  Fred Bernard used books as one of the major touchstones of his intellectual knowledge base and his active research space.  He often times liked to keep the covers of literally hundreds of books in view at any one time, as apparently just the names of the books and their physical presence would help him keep the diverse content in mind as he pursued his systems thinking and research.

BooksThis photo shows a cross-section of books selected by FBWIII from his Flagstaff AZ library, that he liked to carry around to illustrate the breadth of his interests and his collection.  All of his accumulated books were transferred with him as he moved from house to house, over the decades.  Fred Bernard developed his own home grown indexing system, and by best estimates he had over 4000 books in Flagstaff, AZ.  His vast library held great value for FBWIII, and his family gave great thought and care to the library’s disposition after his passing.  In the end, the core of the library collection was donated to the Institute of Noetic Sciences, Petaluma, CA, as the organization with both the need for the books and with a mission in substantial alignment with the topics covered in FBWIII’s collection.  Materials related to the International Society for the Systems Sciences (and its forerunner the Society for General Systems Research) were donated to the ISSS archives maintained at California State Polytechnic University at Pomona, CA.

The donation of his books to like-minded organizations, combined with this web site, constitute a living legacy of all that FBWIII stood for and worked for on behalf of humanity.  He like Nikola Tesla was truly a Man Out of Time, who saw the potentials and issues of science and technology years or decades before others.  It seems so appropriate that FBWIII, a man who grew up with early generation computers and information technology, but retired before the Internet Revolution, would have his life work available to all those interested via the World Wide Web.