Chick was born in Hastings, Sussex and educated at various army garrison schools in the UK and overseas, and Dartford Technical College and Woolwich Polytechnic, graduating in 1937 with a B.Sc. (Eng) and a Higher National Diploma in Electrical Engineering. He began work at the Signals Experimental Establishment at Woolwich and joined the Ministry of Supply at the outbreak of the Second World War. During the war he worked on various aspects of radar, for which he received a wartime inventor's award in 1946. In that year he joined the Research Laboratory of Associated Electrical Industries Ltd at Aldermaston where he remained until 1963, working mainly on thermonuclear reactions. After a period at Vickers Research Laboratory, Chick was appointed Professor and Head of the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at the new University of Surrey at Guildford. Here he energetically promoted collaborative projects for education and research with industrial firms, such as the Electronics Research Group and the Ion Implantation Group.
From the guide to the Papers and correspondence of Douglas Richard Chick, 1921-1978, (Institution of Engineering and Technology)