Twin sisters Hannah and Emmal Safi graduated with first class honours degrees in applied physics from the University of Portsmouth yesterday.
The women, who describe themselves as “studious, but definitely not boring” have also both won PhD places at different universities. Hannah will study Biosciences at University College London and Emmal will study Astrophysics at Keele University, in collaboration with the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxford.
Originally from Newcastle, the sisters were home schooled by their parents until the age of 16, when they attended Brockenhurst College.
They now live at home in Southampton and commute to Portsmouth to go to their classes. They have never lived apart from each other before, and are both anxious and excited at the prospect. Emmal said: “It will definitely be strange at first. We spend a lot of time together because we have the same friends, so it will be weird not knowing anyone.
“We also have a lot of similar interests, we love badminton and regularly spend time walking in the New Forest. To not see each other at all is going to be really difficult.”
Both were interested in physics since a young age, Hannah said: “We are both fascinated by it and love studying it, it is central to our understanding of the world around us and underpins the technological advances of modern society.
“Our family taught us the value of education at an early age, and gave us help and support whenever we needed it, so we always knew we wanted to go into higher education. We are lucky that we have had each other to rely on.”
Both also think it was easier having each other to help them with their studies. Emmal said: “I find it really easy to work with Hannah, we just get on with it, and if I’m stuck there’s someone there to help me. “
They also admit to being very competitive with each other – both have won prizes during their time at University and they believe their success is partly due to their competitiveness. Hannah said: “It’s all friendly though, we just want each other to be the best we can be.”