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Wood, chair of the UND Department of Space Studies, announced Monday that he's leaving the University of North Dakota for a position as first Director of Education at Columbia University's Biosphere 2 Center near Tucson, Ariz.
Biosphere 2 is a 3.15-acre glass- and steel-enclosed ecosystem complete with a desert, a marsh, a savanna, a rain forest and an ocean. It was built to help scientists understand how Biosphere 1, the Earth, works.
Wood has been chair of the space studies department since 1990. He's crafted a program that focuses on all implications of mankind's entry into space, from the scientific and technical to the political and legal. Students learn how to talk to the wide range of people involved in space exploration.
Graduates of the program have been hired by Boeing Aerospace's space station division, Hughes Aircraft, NASA, Spaceweek, U.S. Air Force Space Command and dozens of other private and public organizations.
Before joining UND, Wood was chief of NASA's Space Shuttle Earth Observations Office. Before that, he was a space scientist, in NASA's Experimental Planetology Branch. In short, he's spent the past two decades with his gaze turned to the heavens.
But he knows this biosphere pretty well, too. Wood is a volcanologist with 25 years experience. Along with 180 professional papers on volcanoes and other geologic topics, he also has written the "volcanoes" entry to the 1995 edition of New Book of Knowledge Encyclopedia, and is currently writing a children's book on volcanoes entitled "America's Volcanoes."