Adi Dastur: Obituary


March 20, 2014

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Ardeshir Rustom Dastur passed away on Friday January 17 after a valiant struggle following complications of strokes. Leaving his loving wife Renate, his sister Nergez Mehta Mumbai and niece and family in Oregon, United States. Ardeshir (known to everyone as Adi) was 78 years old was born in Mumbai India on November 2nd 1935, where he obtained BSc degree in 1955. Then he moved to Toronto and earned his BASc and MASc in 1958 and 1960 respectively, from the University of Toronto. He Joined the Canadian Atomic Energy of Canada to begin his long and outstanding career in nuclear engineering until he retired in 1955 and continued as an Engineer Emeritus. He earned many awards from the nuclear industry and other engineering organizations and societies in recognition of his many outstanding contributions, which are documented in over 100 journal publications and scientific reports.

clip_image002 He was the reactor physicist par excellence at Sheridan Park, the one that everyone wanted to consult about every project. Adi had a very deep, instinctive understanding of all the subtleties of reactor physics. He was therefore always sought out for his insightful opinion on difficult questions.

Adi loved to apply his skills to improving reactor-physics methods. He was the developer of the CERBERUS computer code to stimulate for the first time at AECL spatial kinetics in 3 dimensions. CERBERUS is still – after all these years – the Standard Industry Tool for kinetics calculations. Why called it CERBERUS? Well, of course, in reference to CERBERUS, the 3-headed dog guarding the gates of Hades in all 3 spatial directions. Under Adi’s direction huge computer decks were prepared to run the first version of Cerberus on the old mainframe computers. Adi also developed the MULTICELL method to determine the incremental cross sections of reactivity devices.

Adi would have had many opportunities, if he wanted, to go into management. But he steadfastly insisted on remaining in the technical area. Adi analysed the Chernobyl accident and published the shocking conclusion that the Chernobyl shutoff rods actually worsened the accident – instead of arresting or mitigating it – by inserting positive reactivity into the perturbed neutron flux during the accident!

Adi had a passion for forward- looking studies, with the help of the analysts in his section on improvements to the standard CANDU fuel cycle – from the use of enriched fuel to update reactor power to showing how CANDU can be used to achieve much more burn up from used LWR fuel, to simulating actinide burning in CANDU reactors.

Professionally he travelled widely, Japan, Korea, Russia, Chernobyl (Ukraine) and all European Universities and Institutions.

Adi was honoured with the prestigious Outstanding Achievement Award, which was presented to him by the Canadian Nuclear Society in 1994.

He had many interests besides Physics. Together with Renate he loved theatre, opera, museums and travel. He also was an excellent cook. He joined the Royal Conservatory of Music for piano lessons in the 90’s and became interested in building a Harpsichord. He finished the wooden case but a stroke hindered his progress to insert the strings attached to the key board. He was very approachable carried an inviting pleasant smile. He was gentle lovable positive happy man. He will be sorely and dearly missed by all those who knew him particularly by many of his close friends and his beloved wife.

Sent to us by Edul Kanga of Toronto, Canada


  1. Sohrab Kamdin

    I’ve known Adi since he was a child because both our families lived in the same Bungalow Complex. we used to meet during our school holidays & it was fun being with him. As time passed we both went our different ways – He went in for engineering & I for medicine. I remember he loved his food & loved having “Ghee, Khan & hot Rootlies” at our place. I last met him in MHOW with his sister when their mother passed away. His father – Rustam Dastur was also a very illustrious man & was honoured with a O.B.E.for his work on Egyptian Cotton.
    May their souls rest in peace.

  2. Sohrab Kamdin

    I was sorry to hear about Adi & extend my condolences to his family. We knew each other when we were children. I last met him when his mother passed away. He was a brilliant student & very jovial. His father was also very illustrious & was awarded the O.B.E. for his research in Egyption cotton. May his soul rest in peace.