Wood III was passionate about many subjects and authored hundreds
of articles. We have grouped his work into the following themes,
as well as provided an index of all the works we have available
through this site.
Climate Change & Social Evolution: Fred Bernard Wood had a long term awareness of climate change on geologic time scales, and a life long deep understanding of social evolution and the cycles of the rise, decline, and fall of all known prior civilizations on the planet Earth. He was a serious student of sociologists such as Arnold Toynbee and Pitirim Sorokin. In the early 1980s, he begin to link the two fields of inquiry, and investigated the relationship of climate change to societal evolution. He began to view climate change not just as a very long term phenomenon but one that could have significant effects on human civilization within a few generations or perhaps even within current lifetimes. He added climate change as a key dimension in his overall models of social evolution. He was in the vanguard of those scientists who were raising concerns about the exponential rise of anthropogenic trace gases, and especially carbon dioxide. He appreciated that climate change is a complex process and causes and effects could be counterintuitive. These interests led to a series of papers that addressed climate change as both an environmental/ecological issue and as a factor in social evolution and survival of the current human civilization. Through his work with the Earth Regeneration Society and the Computer Social Impact Research Institute, he advocated an aggressive program of climate stabilization, including clean energy sources, reforestation, and remineralization.
Communication Theory in the Cause of Man: In 1970, Fred began to publish a magazine he called Communication Theory in the Cause of Man , (but later changed to "Communication Theory in the Cause of Humanity"). This series 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". The issues often presented a theory in terms understandable by the average person, gave applications to practical problems written for the social technician and systems engineer, and provided mathematical background and testing of hypothesis for the philosopher and scientist. In 1978, he published a loose-leaf book of the cumulated and re-collated back issues of the magazine.
IBM Technology and Electrical Engineering: If Fred Bernard Wood had a “bread and butter” profession, it was microwave radar research and applications, followed by data communications research and applications in the computer environment. His first work after an accelerated completion of his BS in Electrical Engineering was as a key technical member of a microwave radar development team at MIT during WWII. He was selected by the US Army Signal Corps for this assignment based on his already demonstrated superior knowledge of microwave engineering as a Cal Berkeley undergraduate student. His performance during WWII affirmed the confidence that had been placed in him. He continued his work on microwave radar and related topics during his Cal Berkeley graduate studies after the end of WWII. He published some papers in those early days, and accepted a position with the then brand new IBM Research Laboratory in San Jose CA. That began a decade or so of high research productivity for IBM and the preparation of numerous IBM technical papers and related conference presentations and journal articles. At IBM’s newly formed West Coast Advanced Systems Development Laboratory, he transitioned from microwave research to data communications topics, including the application of communications theory, channel bandwidth, and coding to facilitate the movement of data between computers (at that time, mainframe computers) over telephone lines. This was a new and breakthrough concept at the time.
New Energy and Electromagnetics:Fred Bernard Wood earned his academic credentials in electrical engineering with a speciality in electromagnetics. He was a scholar and student of the work of the original "father" of electromagnetics, James Clerk Maxwell. He approached electromagnetics with a fresh eye and innovative mind. Even in his undergraduate days at the University of California, he was questioning the professors about the theoretical basis for Maxwell's famous equations, and whether there were additional roots to these equations that might suggest other dimensions of electromagnetic phenomena. Subsequent research over the decades has proven Fred Bernard’s early scientific intuition to be correct. While he applied Maxwell’s equations and electromagnetic theory to research on radar early in his career (see below), it was not until several decades later that he made the clear link to new energy devices.
In the 1980s, he learned about the early Soviet work on the so-called quantum vacuum, or the active physical vacuum, which Fred Bernard realized could be the source and carrier of additional dimensions of electromagnetic phenomena. In the 1990s, he became aware of the extensive work of LTC(Ret) Thomas E. Bearden on so-called Tesla-class electromagnetics (following in the work of Nikola Tesla). After retiring from active US military duty, Bearden first researched the weapons applications of the Tesla-class. But then he turned to the potential use of new electromagnetics to tap the quantum vacuum for essentially limitless, clean, and very cheap sources of energy. Fred Bernard saw the connections between climate change, social evolution, Maxwell’s hidden dimensions, and Tesla’s and Bearden’s work on new energy sources. Fred Bernard addressed these connections and opportunities in several of his papers.
Social Implications of Engineering and Science: Just as microwave radar, Maxwell’s equations, and data communications were the touchstones of Fred Bernard Wood’s technical work, his concern for the social implications of his work, and that of all engineers and scientists, was a constant theme from the beginning to the end of his professional career. His interest in the social implications began at least as far back as high school, and probably first appeared in junior high. The concepts of social implications and social responsibility came up repeatedly, both in separate papers and conference presentations, and in the several series of themed papers that he prepared during over his lifetime. These concepts were central to his first self-published report series was called Social Responsibility of Engineers Reports; his second report series was called Socio-Engineering Problems Reports (see below); his third series the Communication Theory in the Cause of Man and Humanity (see above); and numerous papers and publications via the Computer Social Impact Institute, Earth Regeneration Society, and the International Society for the Systems Sciences (see below).
Socio-Engineering Problems Reports In this series of reports, Fred Bernard addressed a wide range of topics on the social relations of engineering and related philosophical questions. A common theme was the interaction of science and engineering and society. The SEPR was a forum that he used to advance his thinking about the role of engineers and scientists, and the difficulties and challenges in considering the broader implications for the general public and communities at all levels, and not just the business interests of the employing organization (in his case, IBM, but could apply to anyone working for larger organizations whether in the private or public sectors, business, academia, or government). In the SEPR, and to some extent the earlier SRER and later CTCM, he did address some aspects of economic systems, including use of the Leontief Input-Output Matrices used or attempted to be used by the Soviet Union for central planning purposes. Fred Bernard believed that democracies could benefit from some appropriate use of such planning tools. He understood at an early time the great potential of computers to increase the capacity of humans and human organizations to run calculations, built complex models, develop intricate communication systems, actually simulate future possibilities, and other ways to enhance the human intelligence. He asked, in effect, can societies find ways to have both meaningful democratic pluralism and compassionate capitalism?
Systems Science & Cybernetics: One of the proudest moments in Fred Bernard’s professional life was his participation in the organizing and founding of the Society for General Systems Research (SGSR) in the mid-1950s. He was a regular participant in the annual meetings of SGSR (and later renamed the International Society for the Systems Sciences), and in many years presented at least one paper, sometimes two. His SGSR/ISSS papers frequently emphasized one or more of the themes from his research in the areas noted above. He continued to periodically attend conferences and present papers until he moved to Flagstaff AZ in 2003 for his second “retirement.” Also throughout his life, Fred Bernard was an advocate for the related field of Cybernetic Systems. Defined by Norbert Weiner as the science of communications and control, Fred Bernard was active in the early stages of the formation of the American Society for Cybernetics and presented papers at several meetings. He was continuously integrating Systems and Cybernetics concepts into his thematic work and research papers. He applied systems thinking, for example, at the macro-level in using concepts of entropy and negentropy to better understand societal evolution, in the notion of the Thermodynamic Imperative: A Star to Steer By. And at the micro-level, he applied negentropy to allocate bulletin board space and other communications media so as to help assure equitable access to communication channels by diverse societal groupings. There was and is significant overlap between the systems sciences and the cybernetic sciences, and that was reflected in both the conferences of the SGSR/ISSS and the papers presented by Fred Bernard, and others.
World Peace: Fred Bernard Wood was, fundamentally, a peace worker, and an advocate of concepts such as the Conscious Co-Evolution work of Barbara Marx Hubbard. He believed in the Dialog Method of physicist David Bohm, and others. He strove for peaceful, collaborative, non-militaristic approaches to solving problems at all levels—community to national to global. He opposed the use of military force and wars except where absolutely necessary (such as WWII). He was a strong opponent of the militarization of science and technology that has occurred to large extent since WWII, and of excessive secrecy in military and intelligence circles. He advocated for peace at all levels and believed that the United Nations and other global peace advocacy groups can and should have a major role in global peacemaking. The world peace theme was woven into several of his papers.