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Milutin M. Radovanović

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Milutin Radovanović, the great Serbian name in the science living world, was born on March 2, 1900, in a wealthy farmers’ family in Tabanović, near Šabac. He finished elementary school in his native village, and a gymnasium, after a longer interruption in his education, in Šabac. He obtained the highest education at the Faculty at Jena, Germany, and at Leopold-Franzen Faculty of Philosophy at Innsbruck, Austria. He completed his studies by obtaining his Ph. D. in 1929, in Jena. 

On the return to his country he worked as a few high schools in the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenians, then as an teaching assistant at the University of King Alexander the First in Ljubljana, later he was transferred to National Museum of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, in Sarajevo. For a short period, just before the Second World War, he worked at the Museum of Serbian Lands in Belgrade and then at the Faculty of Agriculture in Sarajevo, where he was the professor. During the war, he was appointed associate professor at the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Belgrade, later was degraded to assistant professor at the Faculty of Philosophy. 

Political situation after the war was not inclined to professor Radovanović In spite of all the misfortunes, he became full professor at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, a corresponding and full member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts in 1958 and 1968, respectively. From 1954 he was an honorary member of the Academy of Zoology in Agra, India. Besides, he was a member of many foreign and Yugoslav scientific societies. He acquired world renown in the field of evolutionary biology, systematics, faunistics, comparative morphology of amphibians, reptiles and Trichoptera. He was the author of many scientific papers and monographs published in the most recognized foreign journals and academic institutions. He described over 20 taxa of lizards (Podarcis melisellensis, P. sicula), newts (Triturus alpestris, T. cristatus) and Trichoptera (Wormaldia). Some life forms, in honour of professor Radovanović, are called after him. His works are cited today as they were during his life, and as a curiosity, his doctoral dissertation defended in 1928 is still referred to by many scientists. He wrote many books and text-books.

He was a tireless researcher of nature – not only of European areas but also of those of distant countries. In one of such international field expeditions in the south of Africa, he tragically lost his life in April 1968, in an air accident at the Ondakaremba airport in Namibia. Few months later his remains were buried at the New Cemetery in Belgrade.

© Aleksandar Simovic