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Pictures | Tue Oct 10, 2017 | 1:10pm EDT

Nobel Prize winners

U.S. academic Richard Thaler, who helped popularize the idea of "nudging" people towards doing what was best for them, won the 2017 Nobel Economics Prize for his work on how human nature affects supposedly rational markets.

Influential in the field of behavioral economics, his research showed how traits such as lack of self-control and fear of losing what you already have prompt decisions that may not have the best outcome in the longer term.

"I think the most important impact (of my research) is the recognition that economic agents are human and economic models have to incorporate that," Thaler, a professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, said in a call broadcast at the Nobel news conference.

Asked at a separate news conference in Chicago if it was difficult to get traditional, data-oriented economists to embrace his ideas, Thaler said it was "impossible...economists don't do a lot of embracing actually."

Thaler brought to prominence the idea of "nudge" economics, where individuals are subtly guided toward beneficial behaviors without heavy-handed compulsion, the theme of a 2008 book he co-wrote which caught the eye of policymakers around the world.

In research focused on self control - or the lack of it - Thaler touched on an age-old problem: why New Year's resolutions to change aspects of your life are notoriously hard to keep.

The issue has relevance for economics as individuals' tendency to fall prey to temptation often negatively affects plans to, for instance, save for retirement.

Together with Professor Cass Sunstein, he argued that society - while maintaining freedom of choice - should actively try to guide individuals in the right direction.

REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski

U.S. academic Richard Thaler, who helped popularize the idea of "nudging" people towards doing what was best for them, won the 2017 Nobel Economics Prize for his work on how human nature affects supposedly rational markets. Influential in the field...more

U.S. academic Richard Thaler, who helped popularize the idea of "nudging" people towards doing what was best for them, won the 2017 Nobel Economics Prize for his work on how human nature affects supposedly rational markets. Influential in the field of behavioral economics, his research showed how traits such as lack of self-control and fear of losing what you already have prompt decisions that may not have the best outcome in the longer term. "I think the most important impact (of my research) is the recognition that economic agents are human and economic models have to incorporate that," Thaler, a professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, said in a call broadcast at the Nobel news conference. Asked at a separate news conference in Chicago if it was difficult to get traditional, data-oriented economists to embrace his ideas, Thaler said it was "impossible...economists don't do a lot of embracing actually." Thaler brought to prominence the idea of "nudge" economics, where individuals are subtly guided toward beneficial behaviors without heavy-handed compulsion, the theme of a 2008 book he co-wrote which caught the eye of policymakers around the world. In research focused on self control - or the lack of it - Thaler touched on an age-old problem: why New Year's resolutions to change aspects of your life are notoriously hard to keep. The issue has relevance for economics as individuals' tendency to fall prey to temptation often negatively affects plans to, for instance, save for retirement. Together with Professor Cass Sunstein, he argued that society - while maintaining freedom of choice - should actively try to guide individuals in the right direction. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski
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Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) receives a bottle of champagne from her husband Will Fihm Ramsay (R) next to Daniel Hogsta, coordinator, in Geneva, Switzerland. The Norwegian Nobel Committee, warning of a rising risk of nuclear war and the spread of weapons to North Korea, awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize to a little-known campaign group seeking a global ban on nuclear arms. The award for ICAN was unexpected, particularly in a year when the architects of the 2015 nuclear deal between international powers and Iran had been seen as favourites for achieving the sort of diplomatic breakthrough that has won the prize in the past.

REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) receives a bottle of champagne from her husband Will Fihm Ramsay (R) next to Daniel Hogsta, coordinator, in Geneva, Switzerland. The Norwegian Nobel...more

Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) receives a bottle of champagne from her husband Will Fihm Ramsay (R) next to Daniel Hogsta, coordinator, in Geneva, Switzerland. The Norwegian Nobel Committee, warning of a rising risk of nuclear war and the spread of weapons to North Korea, awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize to a little-known campaign group seeking a global ban on nuclear arms. The award for ICAN was unexpected, particularly in a year when the architects of the 2015 nuclear deal between international powers and Iran had been seen as favourites for achieving the sort of diplomatic breakthrough that has won the prize in the past. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
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ICAN's Executive Director Beatrice Fihn celebrates with Grethe Ostern (R), member of the steering committee. Asked if she had a message for North Korea's Kim Jong-Un and President Donald Trump, Fihn said both leaders need to know that the weapons are illegal. "Nuclear weapons are illegal. Threatening to use nuclear weapons is illegal. Having nuclear weapons, possessing nuclear weapons, developing nuclear weapons, is illegal, and they need to stop."

REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

ICAN's Executive Director Beatrice Fihn celebrates with Grethe Ostern (R), member of the steering committee. Asked if she had a message for North Korea's Kim Jong-Un and President Donald Trump, Fihn said both leaders need to know that the weapons are...more

ICAN's Executive Director Beatrice Fihn celebrates with Grethe Ostern (R), member of the steering committee. Asked if she had a message for North Korea's Kim Jong-Un and President Donald Trump, Fihn said both leaders need to know that the weapons are illegal. "Nuclear weapons are illegal. Threatening to use nuclear weapons is illegal. Having nuclear weapons, possessing nuclear weapons, developing nuclear weapons, is illegal, and they need to stop." REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
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3 / 17
Kazuo Ishiguro, the Japanese-born, British-raised author of "The Remains of the Day", won the Nobel Prize for Literature for a run of "exquisite" novels that the Swedish Academy said mixed Franz Kafka with Jane Austen. The Academy hailed Ishiguro's ability to reveal "the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world ... in novels of great emotional force" that touch on memory, time and self-delusion. The writer said winning the award was "flabbergastingly flattering ... It comes at a time when the world is uncertain about its values, its leadership and its safety. I just hope that my receiving this huge honor will, even in a small way, encourage the forces for good," he told reporters at his house in north London.

REUTERS/Toby Melville

Kazuo Ishiguro, the Japanese-born, British-raised author of "The Remains of the Day", won the Nobel Prize for Literature for a run of "exquisite" novels that the Swedish Academy said mixed Franz Kafka with Jane Austen. The Academy hailed Ishiguro's...more

Kazuo Ishiguro, the Japanese-born, British-raised author of "The Remains of the Day", won the Nobel Prize for Literature for a run of "exquisite" novels that the Swedish Academy said mixed Franz Kafka with Jane Austen. The Academy hailed Ishiguro's ability to reveal "the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world ... in novels of great emotional force" that touch on memory, time and self-delusion. The writer said winning the award was "flabbergastingly flattering ... It comes at a time when the world is uncertain about its values, its leadership and its safety. I just hope that my receiving this huge honor will, even in a small way, encourage the forces for good," he told reporters at his house in north London. REUTERS/Toby Melville
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4 / 17
Molecular biologist and biophysicist Richard Henderson poses as he looks through a bacteriorhodopsin protein model, following the announcement that he is a joint winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, Britain. Henderson is part of a trio of Swiss, American and British scientists who won the 2017 Nobel chemistry prize for developing cryo-electron microscopy, allowing researchers to see biological molecules frozen in action.

REUTERS/Toby Melville

Molecular biologist and biophysicist Richard Henderson poses as he looks through a bacteriorhodopsin protein model, following the announcement that he is a joint winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology...more

Molecular biologist and biophysicist Richard Henderson poses as he looks through a bacteriorhodopsin protein model, following the announcement that he is a joint winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, Britain. Henderson is part of a trio of Swiss, American and British scientists who won the 2017 Nobel chemistry prize for developing cryo-electron microscopy, allowing researchers to see biological molecules frozen in action. REUTERS/Toby Melville
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Scientist Jacques Dubochet poses after the news conference after winning the 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry at the University of Lausanne (UNIL) in Lausanne, Switzerland. The work by Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson makes it possible to image proteins and other molecules after freezing them rapidly to preserve their shape, providing a powerful new tool for medical research.

REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

Scientist Jacques Dubochet poses after the news conference after winning the 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry at the University of Lausanne (UNIL) in Lausanne, Switzerland. The work by Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson makes it possible to...more

Scientist Jacques Dubochet poses after the news conference after winning the 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry at the University of Lausanne (UNIL) in Lausanne, Switzerland. The work by Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson makes it possible to image proteins and other molecules after freezing them rapidly to preserve their shape, providing a powerful new tool for medical research. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
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Columbia University professor Joachim Frank and his wife Carol Saginaw look at messages from friends at their home after winning 2017 Nobel Prize in chemistry in New York City. The new approach fills a previously blank space by generating images of everything from the surface of the Zika virus to proteins that cause antibiotic resistance or are involved in Alzheimer's. By freezing biomolecules mid-movement, scientists can unravel previously unseen processes - a major advance both for basic understanding and the potential development of new drugs.

REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Columbia University professor Joachim Frank and his wife Carol Saginaw look at messages from friends at their home after winning 2017 Nobel Prize in chemistry in New York City. The new approach fills a previously blank space by generating images of...more

Columbia University professor Joachim Frank and his wife Carol Saginaw look at messages from friends at their home after winning 2017 Nobel Prize in chemistry in New York City. The new approach fills a previously blank space by generating images of everything from the surface of the Zika virus to proteins that cause antibiotic resistance or are involved in Alzheimer's. By freezing biomolecules mid-movement, scientists can unravel previously unseen processes - a major advance both for basic understanding and the potential development of new drugs. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
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California Institute of Technology physicists Kip S. Thorne (R) and Barry C. Barish attend a news conference after winning the 2017 Nobel Prize for Physics, which they share with MIT's Rainer Weiss, in Pasadena, California. The three U.S. scientists won the 2017 Nobel Prize for physics for opening up a new era of astronomy by detecting gravitational waves, ripples in space and time foreseen by Albert Einstein a century ago. The work of Rainer Weiss, Barry Barish and Kip Thorne crowned half a century of experimental efforts by scientists and engineers.

REUTERS/Ringo Chiu

California Institute of Technology physicists Kip S. Thorne (R) and Barry C. Barish attend a news conference after winning the 2017 Nobel Prize for Physics, which they share with MIT's Rainer Weiss, in Pasadena, California. The three U.S. scientists...more

California Institute of Technology physicists Kip S. Thorne (R) and Barry C. Barish attend a news conference after winning the 2017 Nobel Prize for Physics, which they share with MIT's Rainer Weiss, in Pasadena, California. The three U.S. scientists won the 2017 Nobel Prize for physics for opening up a new era of astronomy by detecting gravitational waves, ripples in space and time foreseen by Albert Einstein a century ago. The work of Rainer Weiss, Barry Barish and Kip Thorne crowned half a century of experimental efforts by scientists and engineers. REUTERS/Ringo Chiu
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Dr. Kip Thorne listens during a news conference to discuss the detection of gravitational waves in Washington, February 11, 2016. Measuring gravitational waves offers a new way to observe the cosmos, helping scientists explore the nature of mysterious objects including black holes and neutron stars. It may also provide insight into the universe's very earliest moments. The first detection of the waves created a scientific sensation when it was announced early last year and the teams involved in the discovery had been widely seen as favorites for Tuesday's prize.

REUTERS/Gary Cameron/File Photo

Dr. Kip Thorne listens during a news conference to discuss the detection of gravitational waves in Washington, February 11, 2016. Measuring gravitational waves offers a new way to observe the cosmos, helping scientists explore the nature of...more

Dr. Kip Thorne listens during a news conference to discuss the detection of gravitational waves in Washington, February 11, 2016. Measuring gravitational waves offers a new way to observe the cosmos, helping scientists explore the nature of mysterious objects including black holes and neutron stars. It may also provide insight into the universe's very earliest moments. The first detection of the waves created a scientific sensation when it was announced early last year and the teams involved in the discovery had been widely seen as favorites for Tuesday's prize. REUTERS/Gary Cameron/File Photo
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Dr. Rainer Weiss, emeritus professor of physics at MIT, uses a visual aide during a news conference to discuss the detection of gravitational waves. Weiss said the award of the 9 million Swedish crown ($1.1 million) prize was really a recognition of around 1,000 people working on wave detection.

REUTERS/Gary Cameron/File Photo

Dr. Rainer Weiss, emeritus professor of physics at MIT, uses a visual aide during a news conference to discuss the detection of gravitational waves. Weiss said the award of the 9 million Swedish crown ($1.1 million) prize was really a recognition of...more

Dr. Rainer Weiss, emeritus professor of physics at MIT, uses a visual aide during a news conference to discuss the detection of gravitational waves. Weiss said the award of the 9 million Swedish crown ($1.1 million) prize was really a recognition of around 1,000 people working on wave detection. REUTERS/Gary Cameron/File Photo
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10 / 17
MIT professor emeritus Rainer Weiss talks on the phone at his home in Newton, Massachusetts after winning the Nobel Prize in physics. "We now witness the dawn of a new field: gravitational wave astronomy," Nils Martensson, acting chairman of the Nobel Committee for Physics, told reporters. "This will teach us about the most violent processes in the universe and it will lead to new insights into the nature of extreme gravity."

REUTERS/Brian Snyder

MIT professor emeritus Rainer Weiss talks on the phone at his home in Newton, Massachusetts after winning the Nobel Prize in physics. "We now witness the dawn of a new field: gravitational wave astronomy," Nils Martensson, acting chairman of the...more

MIT professor emeritus Rainer Weiss talks on the phone at his home in Newton, Massachusetts after winning the Nobel Prize in physics. "We now witness the dawn of a new field: gravitational wave astronomy," Nils Martensson, acting chairman of the Nobel Committee for Physics, told reporters. "This will teach us about the most violent processes in the universe and it will lead to new insights into the nature of extreme gravity." REUTERS/Brian Snyder
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California Institute of Technology physicist Barry Barish poses outside his home after winning the 2017 Nobel Prize for Physics. Two U.S.-based instruments working in unison, called the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), detected the first waves caused by colliding black holes. A European sister facility, known as VIRGO based in Italy, has also detected waves more recently. Those spotted so far have come from very distant black holes - extraordinarily dense objects whose existence was also predicted by Einstein - that smashed together to form a single, larger black hole.

REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon

California Institute of Technology physicist Barry Barish poses outside his home after winning the 2017 Nobel Prize for Physics. Two U.S.-based instruments working in unison, called the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO),...more

California Institute of Technology physicist Barry Barish poses outside his home after winning the 2017 Nobel Prize for Physics. Two U.S.-based instruments working in unison, called the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), detected the first waves caused by colliding black holes. A European sister facility, known as VIRGO based in Italy, has also detected waves more recently. Those spotted so far have come from very distant black holes - extraordinarily dense objects whose existence was also predicted by Einstein - that smashed together to form a single, larger black hole. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon
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12 / 17
Michael W. Young, a joint winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, poses for a portrait in one of his labs at The Rockefeller University in New York. U.S. scientists Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael Young won the 2017 Nobel prize for medicine for unravelling molecular mechanisms that control our internal body clocks.

REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Michael W. Young, a joint winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, poses for a portrait in one of his labs at The Rockefeller University in New York. U.S. scientists Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael Young won the 2017 Nobel...more

Michael W. Young, a joint winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, poses for a portrait in one of his labs at The Rockefeller University in New York. U.S. scientists Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael Young won the 2017 Nobel prize for medicine for unravelling molecular mechanisms that control our internal body clocks. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
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13 / 17
Michael Rosbash, a Brandeis University professor, retrieves the morning newspaper after learning he is one of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine winners, at his home in Newton, Massachusetts. Rosbash said the news that the trio had won the Nobel prize, which is worth 9 million Swedish crowns ($1.1 million), was "a little overwhelming ... It took my breath away, literally. I was woken up out of deep sleep and it was shocking," he told Reuters. "It's great for basic science. It hasn't had a tremendous amount of practical impact yet, so it's really a very basic discovery ... It's good to have the attention on this kind of basic work."

REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Michael Rosbash, a Brandeis University professor, retrieves the morning newspaper after learning he is one of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine winners, at his home in Newton, Massachusetts. Rosbash said the news that the trio had won...more

Michael Rosbash, a Brandeis University professor, retrieves the morning newspaper after learning he is one of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine winners, at his home in Newton, Massachusetts. Rosbash said the news that the trio had won the Nobel prize, which is worth 9 million Swedish crowns ($1.1 million), was "a little overwhelming ... It took my breath away, literally. I was woken up out of deep sleep and it was shocking," he told Reuters. "It's great for basic science. It hasn't had a tremendous amount of practical impact yet, so it's really a very basic discovery ... It's good to have the attention on this kind of basic work." REUTERS/Brian Snyder
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14 / 17
The names of Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young are displayed during a news conference to announce the winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in Stockholm. Their work helps explain how people experience jet lag when their internal circadian rhythms get out of sync, while also having wider implications for disorders ranging from insomnia to depression to heart disease. Chronobiology, or the study of biological clocks, is now a growing field of research thanks to the pioneering work of the three scientists, who explained the role of specific genes in keeping fruit flies in step with light and darkness. Today, scientists are exploring new treatments based on such circadian cycles, including establishing the best times to take medicines, and there is an increased focus on the importance of healthy sleeping patterns.

TT News Agency/Jonas Ekstromer via REUTERS

The names of Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young are displayed during a news conference to announce the winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in Stockholm. Their work helps explain how people experience jet lag when...more

The names of Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young are displayed during a news conference to announce the winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in Stockholm. Their work helps explain how people experience jet lag when their internal circadian rhythms get out of sync, while also having wider implications for disorders ranging from insomnia to depression to heart disease. Chronobiology, or the study of biological clocks, is now a growing field of research thanks to the pioneering work of the three scientists, who explained the role of specific genes in keeping fruit flies in step with light and darkness. Today, scientists are exploring new treatments based on such circadian cycles, including establishing the best times to take medicines, and there is an increased focus on the importance of healthy sleeping patterns. TT News Agency/Jonas Ekstromer via REUTERS
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Michael W. Young poses for a portrait in one of his labs at The Rockefeller University in New York. In the mid-1980s, the three laureates used fruit flies to isolate a gene called period that controls the normal daily biological rhythm and showed how it encodes a protein called PER that accumulates in cells during the night and degrades during the day. Further research revealed the role of other genes in the complex system. "We were hopeful what we did in the fly would pertain more widely," Young said in news briefing at Rockefeller University on Monday, but added that "it has unfolded in a way that just couldn't be imagined at the beginning." Young said the trio could not have anticipated that the whole system could be revealed in their lifetimes, but new scientific tools helped accelerate the work. "Just like puzzle pieces, the genes fell out and the way they work together provided this beautiful mechanism that we now appreciate."

REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Michael W. Young poses for a portrait in one of his labs at The Rockefeller University in New York. In the mid-1980s, the three laureates used fruit flies to isolate a gene called period that controls the normal daily biological rhythm and showed how...more

Michael W. Young poses for a portrait in one of his labs at The Rockefeller University in New York. In the mid-1980s, the three laureates used fruit flies to isolate a gene called period that controls the normal daily biological rhythm and showed how it encodes a protein called PER that accumulates in cells during the night and degrades during the day. Further research revealed the role of other genes in the complex system. "We were hopeful what we did in the fly would pertain more widely," Young said in news briefing at Rockefeller University on Monday, but added that "it has unfolded in a way that just couldn't be imagined at the beginning." Young said the trio could not have anticipated that the whole system could be revealed in their lifetimes, but new scientific tools helped accelerate the work. "Just like puzzle pieces, the genes fell out and the way they work together provided this beautiful mechanism that we now appreciate." REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
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16 / 17
Michael Rosbash, a Brandeis University professor, proof-reads a press release after being named as a co-winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. "This ability to prepare for the regular daily fluctuations is crucial for all life forms," Thomas Perlmann, secretary of the Karolinska Institute Nobel Committee, told reporters. "This year's Nobel prize laureates have been studying this fundamental problem and solved the mystery of how an inner clock in our bodies can anticipate daily fluctuations between night and day to optimise our behaviour and physiology."

REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Michael Rosbash, a Brandeis University professor, proof-reads a press release after being named as a co-winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. "This ability to prepare for the...more

Michael Rosbash, a Brandeis University professor, proof-reads a press release after being named as a co-winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. "This ability to prepare for the regular daily fluctuations is crucial for all life forms," Thomas Perlmann, secretary of the Karolinska Institute Nobel Committee, told reporters. "This year's Nobel prize laureates have been studying this fundamental problem and solved the mystery of how an inner clock in our bodies can anticipate daily fluctuations between night and day to optimise our behaviour and physiology." REUTERS/Brian Snyder
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