SCIENTISTS of the future were inspired at an event celebrating youngsters with a talent for the subject in Oxford.

The county’s best Year 13 physicists, chemists and biologists were presented with prizes at Science Oxford’s Oxfordshire Young Scientists of the Year event at the University Museum of Natural History on Thursday.

More than 200 people, parents, teachers and students attended the event after 24 secondary schools nominated their best student in each of the three disciplines, who each received a certificate for their efforts.

The event was supported by Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and the Society for the Chemical Industry (SCI).

Speakers included Roy Green, of LGC Forensics, who was the team leader in the Stephen Lawrence murder case and gave a presentation on solving cold cases.

Another speaker was Dr Ceri Brenner, 25, a former Oxford University physics student, who now works for the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory at the Central Laser Facility.

She gave a talk about how she got into her career, her interest in particle acceleration and the work she does with lasers and fusion research.

She said: “Asking those general questions like why the sky is blue is what will start you off as a scientest. Changes I make in my career will last many, many years beyond me.”

Another speaker was mechanical engineering apprentice Jamie Pinnell, 20, who said: “We are talking to the students about what comes afterwards. I have gone straight from A-Levels myself to work as an engineering apprentice.”

One of the chemistry award winners Rebecca Woods, 17, from Witney, a student at Wood Green School, said: “I think the best thing was hearing about what’s going on in the local area, all the developments at the moment and how Oxfordshire is as the forefront of physics.

“It is nice to be able to meet other students who have a passion for the subject too.”

Marlborough School student Jack Macintyre, 17, from Woodstock, picked up a physics award.

He said: “I think the talks about the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory were really good and the night gave us some ideas about career options.”

James Goetz, 17, of Lord Williams’s School in Thame, got a young biologist award.

He said: “I would say the highlight is getting the recognition for the hard work you give for the subject. The talks were really interesting – I used to have an interest in forensics and it is good to hear more about the subject.”