Douglas Richard Chick (1916-1978)

From Historical Hastings


Douglas Richard Chick was born in Hastings, Sussex, in 1916. His father was an officer in the Indian army, as a result of which his early education took place in various army garrison schools in U.K. and abroad. On returning to England in 1932, he attended Dartford Technical College before commencing a full-time sandwich course at Woolwich Polytechnic and a student apprenticeship with Johnson and Phillips Ltd. in 1933.

After graduating from Woolwich in 1937 with a B.Sc. (Eng.) and a Higher National Diploma in Electrical Engineering, Chick began work as a Junior Scientific Officer at the Signals Experimental Establishment, Woolwich, engaged on research and development of military radio and radio jamming equipment. He continued to attend Woolwich Polytechnic in his spare time, doing research on gas discharge tubes for an M.Sc. degree. On the outbreak of the Second World War he joined the Ministry of Supply, working at Bawdsey and Christchurch on radar and low flying aircraft defence equipment. He was promoted to Scientific Officer in 1941, and spent the remainder of the war doing research on various aspects of radar including searchlight radar control, for which he received a wartime inventor's award in 1946.

In 1946 Chick joined the Research Laboratory of Associated Electrical Industries Ltd. at Aldermaston, where he was appointed Section Leader of the Nuclear Physics Section. He later became Group Leader of the newly-formed Nuclear Sciences Group.

In 1963 Chick moved to become Research Manager of the Vickers Company Research Laboratory, Ascot, where he remained until 1966.

In 1966 Chick was appointed Professor and Head of the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at the new University of Surrey (formerly Battersea College of Advanced Technology). Having spent most of his life working in industry, Chick was convinced of the importance and mutual advantage of close cooperation between the technological universities and industry, and much of his work at Surrey was directed towards promoting this aim.

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