The horizontal type transmission electron microscope, claimed by experts as the first to be built in Asia by a team of city scientists in the 1940s, was put on display at the Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics (SINP) to mark the start of a three-day international conference on electron microscopy here on Wednesday. 

“The equipment, in private hands so far, will now be preserved as a museum item by the SINP as it reflects the rich scientific heritage of the country as well as of the State,” Professor Arun Kumar Pal of SINP’s biophysics department and convenor of the conference, said. 

The equipment was built over two years — 1946 to 1948 — by a team of scientists led by Prof. N.N. Dasgupta, a well-known biophysicist associated with SINP and the University of Calcutta, he said.

“Prof. Dasgupta not only built the equipment along with fellow scientists but went on to conduct research in biophysics with the help of the equipment and published papers in reputed scientific journals,” Prof. Pal said.  

“By putting the equipment on display, we want to show budding scientists and students that we were at par with the rest of the world in the development of the electron microscope even five to six decades ago,” said Gautam Kumar Dey, president of the Electron Microscope Society of India. 

“It was an unparalleled achievement,” Mr. Dey said, adding that the scientists were able to make world-class equipment with the limited resources then available. 

Meanwhile, along with the display of the unique equipment, the annual conference of the Electron Microscope Society of India (EMSI- 2013) will see the participation of 400 delegates from different parts of the world associated with electron microscopy. They will present works related to the material sciences and life sciences.