Students from Hounslow stood at the forefront of scientific exploration as they joined the hunt for the so-called 'God particle' in Switzerland.

Pupils from The Heathland School headed to Geneva during half term to visit the CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC), where some of the world's brightest minds are trying to prove the existence of the elusive Higgs boson.

They got to see the 17-mile long underground particle accelerator where scientists have been smashing together sub-atomic particles since 2008 in their hunt for the particle said to give all matter its mass.

A group of 17 A-level physics students from the school joined teachers on the trip to the multi-million pound research facility, where scientists last year claimed to have proven the existence of the Higgs boson.

They were given a lecture on the history of CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, before seeing ATLAS - the 7,000 tonne particle detector at the heart of the LHC.

They heard how the specks of matter involved are so minute the process is akin to firing two needles 10 kilometres apart with such precision that they meet halfway.

Students at the secondary school in Wellington Road South are no strangers to groundbreaking science, having earlier this year smashed their own world record for the fastest model rocket car.