Dr. Vardalas is the Senior Historian at the History Center. He has a B.S. in physics, an M.Sc. in mathematical physics, an M.A. in geography (economic), and a Ph.D. in history. His general research interests lie at the intersection of political economy, business history, and the history of technology. His 1996 doctoral dissertation was awarded the best thesis award by the Canadian Historical Association.
With Dr. Norman Ball, Dr. Vardalas wrote Ferranti-Packard: Pioneers in Canadian Electrical Manufacturing (Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 1994). His recent book, A History of the Computer Revolution in Canada: Building National Technological Competence (Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press, 2001), won the American Association for History and Computing best book award for 2002.
Dr. Vardalas' current research interests now focus on the US. He is working on a history of a once very prominent firm in the computer industry, the Control Data Corporation. The object of this study is to look at two broad sets of questions. At the level of the firm, he is exploring the nature and dynamics of technological competence. How does it arise? How is it sustained? And how is it lost? At the national level, he is examining the technical, social, economic, and political underpinnings of US technological leadership in the global computer industry during the years 1945 to 1990.
He enjoys downhill skiing and other outdoor activities. He has become very fascinated by sailing, both as a participant and a historian. He loves the challenge of racing small sailboats in San Francisco Bay. Dr. Vardalas looks forward to the day when he can write the social/business/technical history of the world's sailing industry. His wife, Dr. Karen Lapsley, shares his passion for skiing and sailing. In fact, she introduced him to these activities.