EDUCATION: NBU unit to house sensitive machines

EDUCATION: NBU unit to house sensitive machines – without a culture of thoroughness nor maintenance where nothing will soon work ?!!

Uncaptioned photo from the Telegraph - new unit at NBU ?!!

FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT

Siliguri, June 25: A new facility is coming up at North Bengal University to house sophisticated equipment, which are sensitive and fragile, for specialised research by students and scholars of its science faculty.

The varsity has sanctioned an initial amount of Rs 2 crore for the construction of the first phase of the Central Major Equipment Facility.

“There are scientific equipment at the varsity at present but not of superior standard. Sophisticated equipment are required for advanced and better quality research. However, these instruments are sensitive and fragile and before they are procured, we should have labs with specified environment to house them,” said Basudeb Basu, the director of the new facility.

According to Basu, who is also the in-charge of the University Science Instrumentation Centre, which looks after the maintenance of equipment, the proposal for the facility was placed before the varsity authorities three years ago.

A centrally-located plot measuring 20,000 sq feet was allotted and construction of the first phase began four months ago.

“I had placed the proposal and it was approved by the university authorities who sanctioned Rs 2 crore. The first phase of the facility is coming up on 6,000sqfeet area of the total plot and will be completed in a couple of months,” said Basu.

Three equipment will be obtained in the first phase and they are high resolution transmission electron microscope, atomic absorption spectrophotometer and atomic force microscope.

“The electron microscope allows a researcher to view images at an atomic scale to study properties of semi-conductors and metals. The spectrophotometer provides for accurate qualitative analyses of metals in water, sediments, soil and rocks,” said Basu.

Basu says these sophisticated equipment have to be kept in buildings with anti-vibration surfaces. “The machines also require an environment, where there are no powerful magnetic fields. There should be no presence of high-voltage electricity in the immediate surroundings of the building either,” he said.

“Students and scholars at the varsity are currently carrying out research in nano-technology on a smaller scale. Once the equipment are put in place, they can carry out major research in the field. Each of these instruments costs around Rs 1 crore to Rs 2.5 crore. We are in the process of preparing proposals to submit to funding agencies like the department of science and technology and department of bio-technology (of the central government) to help us purchase the equipment,” said Basu.

Once functional, the centre will be useful for departments like botany, zoology, chemistry, bio-technology, microbiology and physics.

“The staff and the technical officers of the centre will assist in maintaining and operating the facility which will be a two-storey building. While the first floor will house the equipment, lecture rooms and conference halls will be on the second floor,” said Basu.

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