SCIENTISTS marked 100 years of life-saving research with a celebration at their laboratories in Harwell yesterday.

The Medical Research Council was founded in London on June 20, 1913.

It has since made countless scientific breakthroughs and opened 62 sites across the UK – including a key base in Oxfordshire.

Researchers working for the MRC at its Oxfordshire base at Harwell, near Didcot, threw open their doors to explain their experiments.

Students from schools across the county quizzed the top scientists and tested experiments in the Rutherford Appleton Laboratories.

The MRC funds the Research Complex at Harwell.

Research Complex director Simon Phillips said: “It is exciting to be part of the MRC, it is a fantastic organisation.”

School students visited seven different research stations.

They saw a 3D cutting machine create replacement bone to be used in surgical operations, including hip replacements, watched the movement of molecules in cancer cells, and saw how bright light breaks molecular bonds, changing the colour of a substance.

Didcot Girls’ School pupil Alice Reddick grabbed a lab coat and safety goggles to play professional scientist for the day.

The 15-year-old said: “We have been extracting DNA from strawberries – it is fun, I’d like to be a scientist so it’s really good to see.”

Scientists will be in Bonn Square, Oxford, tomorrow for a day-long science fair to celebrate the centenary. Seven interactive stalls will be running from 10am to 4pm.