Twins dou­ble up on de­gree

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - ALAS­TAIR LYNN

A pair of Auck­land twins have grad­u­ated with near-iden­ti­cal doc­tor­ate de­grees.

Sa­man­tha and So­phie Ro­drigues both re­ceived their PhD in chem­i­cal and ma­te­ri­als en­gi­neer­ing at the Univer­sity of Auck­land’s May grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony.

On the sur­face the 26-year-olds and their de­grees might look strik­ingly sim­i­lar but there is much that sets them apart.

Sa­man­tha’s study in biome­chan­ics has put her in a ca­reer at the De­fence Tech­nol­ogy Agency while Sophia’s re­search in oral food pro­cess­ing has led to post-doc­toral work at the Univer- sity of Queens­land.

Sa­man­tha says much of her work is strictly con­fi­den­tial but she can re­veal at least a glimpse.

‘‘It’s a very ex­cit­ing and var­ied role that’s fo­cussed on help­ing the army, navy and air­force by us­ing gad­gets,’’ she says.

‘‘Right now I’m study­ing the ef­fects of bul­lets on the rib cage.’’

Work­ing in bal­lis­tics is about as far from food pro­cess­ing as you can get. De­spite the twins strik­ing sim­i­lar­i­ties, there is much de­bate over whether or not they are iden­ti­cal.

‘‘My mum thinks we’re not iden­ti­cal, when she was preg­nant the doc­tor said we were not. But me and my sis­ter think we are,’’ Sa­man­tha says.

‘‘[Iden­ti­cal twins] nat­u­rally tend to be mir­ror im­ages of each other.

‘‘There are some fac­tors that make me think we are, in­clud­ing the fact that we both have an ex­tra toe on one foot but on op­po­site feet.

‘‘I have an ex­tra toe on my left foot and she has one on her right.

‘‘But we’re not com­pletely the same, es­pe­cially when it comes to food, so there def­i­nitely are some dif­fer­ences.’’

The de­ci­sion to study en­gi­neer­ing was a ‘‘no-brainer’’ for the Mt Roskill res­i­dents.

Al­though they share so many sim­i­lar traits and in­ter­ests, Sa­man­tha says sib­ling ri­valry has never had a part to play.

‘‘Other peo­ple al­ways tend to com­pare our grades but we want to sup­port each other.

‘‘We couldn’t share all our prob­lems but we cer­tainly shared what we were go­ing through.

‘‘In a way it’s nice to have some­one liv­ing in the same house study­ing the same thing so you can sup­port each other.’’

A tow truck with two ve­hi­cles on its deck was parked up against 97 Mount Eden Rd, the lo­ca­tion of Prom­ise Keep­ers, a Chris­tian or­gan­i­sa­tion.

The truck and two ve­hi­cles were fully in­flamed by the time fire­fight­ers ar­rived, but within half an hour the fire was out.

Fire ser­vice shift man­ager Me­gan Ruru said the build­ing was smoke-logged but oth­er­wise un­dam­aged.

‘‘In the end, the fire it­self was just con­fined to the ve­hi­cles,’’ she said.

A call from the pub­lic brought the fire to the at­ten­tion of au­thor­i­ties. At this point the cause of the fire is un­known, and is con­sid­ered sus­pi­cious.

Police con­firmed they were in­ves­ti­gat­ing on Thurs­day.

‘‘It’s a very ex­cit­ing and var­ied role that’s fo­cussed on help­ing the army, navy and air­force by us­ing gad­gets’’

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