Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Last Updated: 20 May 15:27 PM IST
25 October 2012
KOLKATA, 25 OCT: The century-old Baker laboratory of Presidency University will be given a new look and converted into a modern laboratory.
The work will start with the Physics laboratory and slowly the other labs will be upgraded. Internationally celebrated astrophysicist Professor Somak Ray Chaudhury, a former student of the college, has joined as the head of the department of Physics.
The restoration work will be carried out under the supervision of the renowned conservation and restoration architect, Mr Partha Ranjan Das. Mr Das, a member of the State Heritage Commission, was the key person in restoring the Town Hall, 198-year-old building.
The roof of the Baker building is in a bad shape and will have to be given a thorough repair. The structure has never been maintained properly and patch repair had been carried out from time to time. The chambers of the teachers will be air-conditioned. There is a proposal to add one more floor so that classes are not affected when the restoration work is on. Mr Das said an elevator will be set up for the faculty in the area earmarked for a lift which, however, was never installed. There will be another lift for the students and those who visit the university at a place situated opposite the Hindu hostel. Mr Das said the corridor at Netaji Bhavan situated in front of the Baker building will be widened and made into an eight-feet one. Also, another staircase will be set up as a part of fire-fighting measure. Also, state-of-the-art fire-fighting devices would be installed at Baker building.
Professor Ray Chowdhury said a function to celebrate the centenary of Baker laboratory would be held in July 2013. Jagadish Chandra Bose inaugurated the building on 20 January 1913. The building was named after Edward Norman Baker, Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal Presidency (1908-11). The Physics lecture Theatre (PLT) was designed by him and there is a demonstration room for the teachers to demonstrate an experiment while delivering lectures.
The equipment has become inoperative because of non-use and attempts will be made to restore them, said Prof Ray Chowdhury. Rabindranath Tagore had come and addressed the students of Presidency College at a function held at PLT. He had also sung a song on the occasion. Besides Physics, several other departments like Geology, Physiology, Zoology and Botany are housed in Baker building.
Satyendranath Bose, Meghnad Saha and Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis were students of Physics department and Mahalanobis later became the departmental head.