ASTRONOMER Mark Thompson officially opened a £10m science centre at ACS Hillingdon International School.

Mr Thompson, who presents BBC’s Stargazing Live, highlighted the importance of practical education in inspiring the next generation of scientists.

Guests also took part in practical experiments exploring human spaceflight, run by the National Space Academy.

The new centre includes seven laboratories and features a specialist binocular microscope and reflecting telescope, as well as an electrophoresis unit which students can use to investigate and visualise DNA. 

Mr Thompson said: “It is fabulous to see the new superbly-equipped science centre.  The school clearly understands the importance of hands-on science and I am excited to see how the students will respond to this amazing new facility.”

Dr Neelu Sharma, head of science at ACS Hillingdon, added: “This summer, several of our graduating students won places to study bio-chemistry, pre-medicine, bio-medical sciences, physics and medicine at top universities.”