Variance DynamicalVariance 
Paul Goodwin, PhD, Variance Founder
Paul A. Goodwin, PhD, Founder 

Paul A. Goodwin, PhD, originally of Kotzebue, Alaska, like so many Native people of his generation began his education in a boarding school program.  In Goodwin's case, however, it was not the usual BIA school that he attended but was, rather, the Catholic boarding school program located at the time in Fairbanks, Alaska.  Goodwin felt that this Catholic schooling experience, begun at an early age in kindergarten, provided him a sound educational footing for his future even though, for a variety of reasons, primarily societal, cultural and familial, Goodwin could not attend high school.  But his father was able to offer the young Goodwin an alternative.

Goodwin's father was a Swedish man (his father's mother and father were naturalized from Sweden) in federal service just before WW II.  The federal service was an outcome of the father's youthful, adventuresome spirit because it gave him the opportunity to travel from his East Coast home (Connecticut) to Kotzebue, Alaska in the mid 1930s.  While in Kotzebue, Goodwin's father met Paul's half Eskimo mother and they were married.  

During the time when Goodwin had to quit high school, Goodwin's father lived in Santa Rosa, California.  The father offered his son an opportunity to complete his education in an entirely new setting under the auspices of what was then a new educational paradigm: namely California's Jr. College system.  With some trepidation concerning his move into what was for him an entirely new world, Goodwin accepted his father's offer.  At age 19, Goodwin moved to California and within a few months adequately acclimatized to the new environment and was, indeed, accepted for matriculation at the Santa Rosa Jr. College.

During the next 11 years Goodwin was awarded Associate in Arts degrees in both mathematics and humanities by the Santa Rosa Jr. College, and was awarded in 1971 a Bachelor of Science degree, with Distinction in Physics, by Sonoma State College, at the time a college of the University of California at Berkeley.  To pay for all this Goodwin, who was married and who had a child to support at the time, became along the way a federally certified nuclear welder and a journeyman mechanic who held all California automotive certificates of license of the time.

But, as an Alaska Native Goodwin not surprisingly wished to return to his home in Alaska.  Before graduation from Sonoma State, because of good grades, excellent academic references and having graduated with "distinction" in his field, Goodwin was accepted as a research assistant at the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.  A few months after arriving, Goodwin was awarded a research fellowship by American Indian Scholarships, Inc.  With the financial help of this fellowship and, later, other fellowships awarded by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Goodwin in 1974 earned a Master of Science in geophysics (theoretical) and by 1976 had completed the requirements for his Ph.D., also in theoretical geophysics. 

Along the way to his advanced academic degrees, this time instead of working at blue-color jobs as he did in his undergraduate days, his various fellowships allowed Dr. Goodwin to become more and more involved with cross-cultural education in general, and with Alaska Native education in particular.  Dr. Goodwin was looking for a way to improve and make more effective the educational process and experience of the Native Alaskan young people that he taught and mentored at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.  Because cross-cultural education per se didn't seem to provide any meaningful near-term solutions for his educational questions, concerns and dilemmas, Dr. Goodwin turned to his own field.  This led him to mathematical modeling of the brain, a field of research which is now, some four decades later, designated by several titles among which are neurophysics and psychophysics, mathematical neuropsychology, and so forth.  Dr. Goodwin's research would best be described as mathematical neurophysics.   

Although Dr. Goodwin left behind his academic research career in favor of his corporate and governmental interests, he did maintain an active interest in his own educational and brain research and, indeed, taught within these areas of interest at the graduate level in one university or another for well over twenty years.  At the same time, Dr. Goodwin served three governors of the state of Alaska in various educational capacities.  From 1984 through 1987 Dr. Goodwin served governors Sheffield and Cooper in the capacity of the Coordinator for Rural and Native Education.  In this capacity Goodwin transferred all remaining BIA contract schools into the state educational system, including the Mt. Edgecumbe Boarding Home High School.  Goodwin chaired the Task Force on the Role of Mt. Edgecumbe High School in Alaskan Secondary Education, which recommended the educational role that Mt. Edgecumbe should play in the still being built Alaskan secondary educational system.  The Task Force's recommendations were largely adopted intact by the legislature and signed into law by governor Cowper in 1987.  The basic educational and funding strategy adopted for Mt. Edgecumbe stands to this day, and has served as an educational and funding model for boarding home high schools not only for Alaska, but for other states as well. 

During his tenure as the Coordinator, Goodwin in addition was instrumental in establishing two new school districts in the State of Alaska.  This was an outgrowth of the loss of local control when the federal educational system was disbanded in favor of the state system.  Before leaving his office as Coordinator, Goodwin presented to the State Board of Education, in the Summer of 1987, A Report to the Commissioner on the Efficacy of the Formal Education Process in Rural Alaska.  In this report it was demonstrated using the at the time current understandings concerning brain growth and development that the formal education system can, and often does, become a vehicle for disruptive influence in an isolated community. 

 Dr. Goodwin's continued and active interest in his academic research field concerning mathematically modeling the brain came to fruition in late 1998.  Then, as well as during the following Spring and Summer of 1999, it became apparent to Dr. Goodwin that he had finally solved, at least in principle, his original problem of how the brain of a biological creature must at least basically work.  The formalized aspects of this new understanding became the corpus for a new theory.

Dr. Goodwin had previously referred this new theory as "Foundation Theory" in his aforementioned report to the commissioner concerning the efficacy of the formal education process in rural Alaska.  The title of Goodwin's theory was derived from Issac Asimov's master work, the Foundation Trilogy, which dealt with "mental" and "cognitive" equations, the description of which in Dr. Asimov's fictional trilogy were not unlike those Dr. Goodwin had in the real world begun to develop in his own quest for answers and solutions.  With Goodwin's insights, gained over many years of work, the name Foundation Theory increasingly took on meaning even more apropos than it originally had.  The name of the theory was therefore retained.  Anyone familiar with Foundation Theory, and who has read the Foundation Trilogy, can not help but to compare the two works.

 Understanding how a biological brain must work is the holy grail of all neurological research.  While much is known about the details of the operation of various parts of a biological brain, almost nothing at all is known about how those parts, and how those details integrate to form the operating, alive, brain.  But, by the Spring and Summer of 1999, Dr. Goodwin arrived at a basic understanding of how the biological brain must work for that organ to do what it obviously did.  What this meant was that at the time a rudimentary mathematical model could be put together that would be able to explain many things about the operational characteristics of a biological brain that were in many cases completely without explanation otherwise.  For example, according to PET-scan research, different cognitive tasks "light up" different areas of the brain, almost as if a particular cognitive task required following a particular cognitive trace through the nervous system.  The now far less rudimentary cognitive equations of foundation theory explains how the alive, working brain does this.  Information may flow like electricity, like water does, but whatever is flowing in the brain clearly does not!

The usual thing to do at such a point of understanding would be to publish his results in an appropriate academically oriented journal.  However, Dr. Goodwin had already done this kind of thing in other areas of mathematical modeling, and had experienced certain unfortunate aspects of the academic, scientific world that he did not really want to re-experience.  But, be that as it may, Goodwin had in any case already decided on a career path different from that offered by the Ivory Tower research world as exemplified by the Geophysical Institute and NCAR.  Although there could be considerable glory and notoriety in the academic approach, Dr. Goodwin for a variety of reasons, not least among which was monetary gain, realized that a better approach would be to complete his research with an eye toward patenting any operational process of the brain that he could successfully mimic in electronics and therefore patent.  Dr. Goodwin felt that taking the corporate route could affect change in education, as well as in many other areas, much faster and more effectively than was routinely and generally demonstrated using the academic, scientific approach.  After all, if something works, as evidenced by a patent or patent application, then academic politics and vitriol, professional jealousies and argument for the sake of argument notwithstanding, it works!

Upon that realization, Dr. Goodwin decided a corporation needed to be formed to protect the intellectual property that was being developed by his continued research.  Thus, in November of 1999, Variance Dynamical, Inc., an Alaska corporation was formed.  Dr. Goodwin recruited a number of people to the Variance Team and continued to work on Variance Technology up to his death in October of 2008, including filing for two patents.   The first microchip proving his theories was delivered shortly after his death and patents for the Electronic Neural Loop (ENL) and the Automatic Fourier Analysis devices were issued the following year, 2009.