Twins are friends for life

Source: UT news 27 september 2001

When asked the best part about being a twin, Igor Radovanovic replied, 'You always have a friend.' The Yugoslav twins are always together. In selecting a doctoral program, they chose only universities that would accept them both. The longest they have ever been separated was when Igor came two months earlier than his brother Sasa to the Universiteit Twente.

As little boys, they shared a bedroom for eight years. The brothers wore identical clothing until age sixteen. As they get older, they look more and more different, but when Igor looks back at pictures from their childhood, he has difficulty recognizing himself. Today Igor and Sasa share an apartment, along with Igor's wife Jelena. In a few months when Sasa's new bride Vesna joins them, they may consider living apart for the first time in their twenty-seven years of existence.

For years they have been studying together, both earning undergraduate degrees in engineering at University of Nis. Three years later they received Masters degrees in Electrical Engineering with a specialization in Digital Signal Processing, sharing an office and even a supervisor. They are ideal study buddies because besides their unique 'twin connection,' their depth and breadth of knowledge is exceptionally similar. Cooperating must work well for them because by the time they arrived here, they already had fourteen articles between them. The twins stress, however, that while they help each other, they work individually. To ensure this, teachers have even gone so far as to request that they take tests on the same day or at the same time to prevent cheating.

Currently at the UT, their research interests are beginning to diverge. While both are in Electrical Engineering, Igor has branched off into Telecommunication Engineering with a specialty in optical local area networks, working under Wim van Etten. Sasa is guided by Anne Johan Anemma and Bram Nauta in his research on Integrated Circuit Design. The future is open for the brothers. Wherever they go, it will be somewhere that offers topnotch facilities, access to the latest developments in their areas of research, and an intellectually stimulating environment. Such an environment is not to be taken for granted, if only because it was so regrettably absent in their home institution.

When asked about their fellow expatriate, Slobodan Milosevic, the twins take a decidedly apolitical stance. They do not want to be involved in politics. They requested that there be no mention of war or ineffectual economic sanctions in this article. Nonetheless they cannot deny that in Yugoslavia, students and scientists suffered because politics ruled the economy. They were dissatisfied with academic life at Nis where over the last ten years, political andfinancial restrictions limited their ability to network with their professional counterparts in other countries.

More striking than their near identical looks is their optimistic, open-minded outlook on life. These are two young men who grew up in a country torn apart by religious and ethnic differences. Despite the sociopolitical situation of their national community, they look steadfastly at the bright side of life. They explain that in every situation there are good things and bad things, and they prefer to focus on the good aspects. Their parents taught them, "Be positive, do good things, and good things will come back to you." Still, that the Radovanovic twins, coming from a nation dominated by war, can be so effortlessly upbeat is both remarkable and inspiring.

Place of origin: Leskovac, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia

Favorite author: Ivo Andric, 1961 Nobel Prize Winner

Favorite group: Serbian rock band Bijelo Dugme

Favorite recent film: IR - 'Hurricane'; SR - 'The Sixth Sense'

Favorite hobbies: basketball, jogging, watching films

Favorite place to be: IR - the seaside; SR - any city

Favorite spot in the Netherlands: IR - Scheveningen; SR - Rotterdam

Best part about living in the Netherlands: travel opportunities

Worst part about living in the Netherlands: rain and wind.

Kristin Zimmerman

Sasa and Igor Radovanovic

(added 2001-09-27)