Young scientists from Oxford were given an insight into the workings of the universe - courtesy of physicists working at the cutting edge of knowledge.

About 100 A- and AS-Level pupils from schools in and around the city were invited to the annual National Particle Physics Masterclass, at Oxford University's physics department.

They were given lectures on particle physics, before taking part in a video conference with Oxford University students at the world's biggest particle accelerator in Geneva.

Dr Alan Barr, a physics lecturer at the university, said: "Some of the things that we did tied into things they are doing in their lessons.

"They had been learning about certain types of particles in their lessons and we told them how they were used in the real world."

Students were told about the different particles that their bodies were made of, as well as more advanced science such as the Big Bang Theory and the 95 per cent of the universe which scientists do not yet understand. And there was a practical session too.

Dr Barr said: "They had a piece of apparatus first used 100 years ago to try and test Einstein's theory of relativity and they made some measurements themselves, looking at light and measuring the lengths of light waves.

"They also did some computer simulations of particles."

Dr Barr was full of praise for the budding scientists and said: ""I was pleased that they had some very good questions and seemed really interested.

"They asked the sorts of things that if you've been in the field a long time you don't think about and and they were very enthusiastic as well."

He added: "They were very bright and very interested and we would love to see them here in a couple of years time."

Jake Spira, 17, was one of those who took part.

He said: "The day gave me a valuable insight into the atmosphere surrounding physics at university.

"I enjoyed the practical as well as the lecture and was amazed by the size of the college we were in.

"Overall, the day was useful and informative for my physics A-level and general scientific awareness."

National Particle Physics Masterclasses were held at a dozen universities across the UK, and at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, near Didcot.