Dirck was born June 23, 1930, in Braintree, Mass., to Stuart and Helen Wood Dimock.
Early in his life his father thought it would be a good idea to move the family to a goat farm. Dirck did not like goats nor the chores associated with them. Dirck had two brothers, Bruce and Alan. The children were raised on goat’s milk which Dirck always said gave him immunity to poison ivy.
Dirck dealt with the challenges of fairly severe dyslexia in his youth. He told a story of holding a book upside down in front of him when his father came into the room. His father assumed that young Dirck had hastily picked up the book to cover up something he shouldn’t have been doing, so he asked him to read it to him. Dirck proceeded to read the book to him without apparent problem — he didn’t even know that he was holding the book upside down.
When higher education beckoned, he left for Antioch College, where he met a Shell ranch girl named Anne Paton. They married in 1952. When they finished college they moved to Baltimore, so that Dirck could pursue his doctorate at Johns Hopkins University.
In Baltimore they started their family and named their first son, Allyn, after a favorite college professor. Lisa Shea was born a year and a half later.
With Dirck’s degree in physics in hand, the couple moved to Princeton, N.J. Christopher, their third child, was born there.
Dirck worked for the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) for many years as a plasma physicist on a joint nuclear fusion project for Princeton and the federal government researching the feasibility of economical fusion power. He specialized in Thompson Scattering, the laser measurement of the speed of accelerated particles and in ruby laser set up and calibration.
He became one of the world’s leading experts in this field, which led to numerous requests to travel as a visiting scientist to places like Germany, India and Japan. He even had an invitation to Novosibirsk, Russia, which he declined. He and the family spent the year of 1963 in Munich, Germany, where he worked as an exchange scientist at the Max Planck Institute. In the 1980s Dirck spent approximately five summers in Nagoya, Japan, working with Japanese scientists on their nuclear power program.
Anne and Dirck divorced in 1974 but remained on amicable terms.
Work on fusion energy research consumed Dirck’s days until his retirement from PPPL in 1992, but modern dance and body work became a passion of his outside of the office. It was through this interest that he met Odile Rouquet in the late 1980s and the two became close. Odile remained a very important presence in his life since that time.
Dirck moved from Princeton to Hadley, Mass., shortly after his retirement.
After retiring, Dirck joined Princeton Scientific Instruments as a principal investigator, where he was involved in numerous projects. He also worked for Princeton Optical on occasional consulting projects. He learned to pilot a plane and obtained his private pilot’s license in order to be able to commute from Hadley to Princeton for consulting work. He divided his time between dance, science, and deep tissue body work, while making time for his children and grandchildren, Stephen (Caitlin) Dimock, Heather (Dustin) Rhodes of Powell, Tyler Dimock, and most recently two great-grandchildren, William Luke and Hayley Rowena Rhodes.
In April 2013, after having been diagnosed in 2010 with Alzheimer’s, Dirck moved to Cody to live with his daughter Shea. In November 2013 he moved to assisted living and then in December to long-term care as his disease progressed.
No services are planned at this time.
Ballard Funeral Home is handling arrangements. An online memorial is available at www.ballardfh.com