James Tour

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James Tour
James Tour in 2018
Born1959 (age 63–64)
New York City, U.S.
Alma materPurdue University, PhD
Syracuse University, BS
Known forMolecular electronics
Graphene production techniques
Carbon nanotube chemistry
SpouseShireen G. Tour
AwardsOesper Award (2021)
Centenary Prize (2020)
Trotter Prize (2014)
Feynman Prize (2008)
Scientific career
FieldsOrganic Chemistry
Materials Science
InstitutionsRice University, 1999-present
University of South Carolina, 1988–1999
ThesisMetal-Promoted Cyclization and Transition-Metal-Promoted Carbonylative Cyclization Reactions (1986)
Doctoral advisorEi-ichi Negishi

James Mitchell Tour (born 1959) is an American chemist and nanotechnologist who believes in intelligent design. He is a Professor of Chemistry, Professor of Materials Science and Nanoengineering, and Professor of Computer Science at Rice University in Houston, Texas. Tour is a top researcher in his field, having an h-index of 165 with total citations index over 125,000 and was listed as an ISI highly cited researcher.


Tour received degrees from Syracuse University (BS, 1981), Purdue University (PhD, 1986) and completed postdoctoral work at the University of Wisconsin–Madison (1986–1987) and Stanford University (1987–1988).[1]


Tour's work is primarily focused on carbon materials chemistry and nanotechnology. Tour has over 700 research publications and over 130 patent families,[2] with an H-index of 150 with total citations over 107,000.[3]

Tour's work on carbon materials is broad and encompasses fullerene purification,[4][5] composites,[6][7] conductive inks for radio frequencies identification tags,[8][9] carbon nanoreporters for identifying oil downhole,[10][11] graphene synthesis from cookies and insects,[12] graphitic electronic devices,[13][14] carbon particle drug delivery for treatment of traumatic brain injury,[15][16] the merging of 2D graphene with 1D nanotubes to make a conjoined hybrid material,[17] a new graphene-nanotube 2D material called rebar graphene,[18] graphene quantum dots from coal,[19] gas barrier composites,[20] graphene nanoribbon deicing films,[21] supercapacitors and battery device structures,[22][23] and water splitting to H2 and O2 using metal chalcogenides.[24] His work with the synthesis of graphene oxide,[25][26] its mechanism of formation,[27] and its use in capturing radionuclides from water is extensive.[28] Tour has developed oxide based electronic memories that can also be transparent and built onto flexible substrates.[29] His group has all developed the use of porous metal structures to make renewable energy devices including batteries and supercapacitors, as well as electronic memories.[30]

More recently, the Tour's group discovery of laser-induced graphene (LIG) has led to an enormous research area for graphene researchers worldwide,[31][32] and this platform is being used to build an array of device structures made from LIG foams.[33]  His lab's discovery of the flash graphene process in 2019 for the 10-millisecond bulk formation of graphene from any carbon source, including coal, petroleum coke, biochar, food waste and even mixed plastic waste, is quickly being realized as a major development for environmental stewardship through materials and waste upcycling.[34]

Tour worked in molecular electronics and molecular switching molecules. He pioneered the development of the Nanocar, single-molecule vehicles with four independently rotating wheels, axles, and light-activated motors.[35] Tour was the first to show that Feringa-based motors[36] can be used to move a molecule on a surface using light[37] as opposed to electric current from an STM tip. His early career focused upon the synthesis of conjugated polymers and precise oligomers.[38]

Tour has also been involved in scientific outreach, such as NanoKids, an interactive learning DVD to teach children fundamentals of chemistry and physics. He also developed SciRave, a Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero package to teach science concepts to middle school and elementary school students. and much work on carbon nanotubes and graphene.[39][40][41] He has testified before the US Congress on two occasions to warn about budget cuts.[42]

In the Scientific American article "Better Killing Through Chemistry",[43] which appeared a few months after the September 11 attacks, Tour highlighted the ease of obtaining chemical weapon precursors in the United States.

Tour is on the board and working with companies including Weebit (silicon oxide electronic memory),[44] Dotz (graphene quantum dots),[45] Zeta Energy (batteries),[46] NeuroCords (spinal cord repair),[47] Xerient (treatment of pancreas cancer), LIGC Application Ltd. (laser-induced graphene),[48] Nanorobotics (molecular nanomachines in medicine),[49] Universal Matter Ltd. (flash graphene synthesis),[50] Roswell Biotechnologies (molecular electronic DNA sequencing),[51] and Rust Patrol (corrosion inhibitors).[52]

Tour's lab's research into graphene scaffolding gel has been shown to repair spinal cords of paralyzed mice.[42]


Tour became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2020 and was awarded the Royal Society of Chemistry's Centenary Prize for innovations in materials chemistry with applications in medicine and nanotechnology.[53] Tour was inducted into the National Academy of Inventors in 2015.[54]

He was named among "The 50 most Influential Scientists in the World Today" by TheBestSchools.org in 2014.[55]

Tour was named "Scientist of the Year" by R&D Magazine in 2013.[56] Tour won the ACS Nano Lectureship Award from the American Chemical Society in 2012. Tour was ranked one of the top 10 chemists in the world over the past decade by Thomson Reuters in 2009.

That year, he was also made a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Other notable awards won by Tour include the 2008 Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology, the NASA Space Act Award in 2008 for his development of carbon nanotube reinforced elastomers, the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award from the American Chemical Society (ACS) for his achievements in organic chemistry in 2007, the Small Times magazine's Innovator of the Year Award in 2006, the Southern Chemist of the Year Award from ACS in 2005, the Honda Innovation Award for Nanocars in 2005, the NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award in 1990, and the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award in 1989.

In 2005, Tour's journal article "Directional Control in Thermally Driven Single-Molecule Nanocars" was ranked the Most Accessed Journal Article by the American Chemical Society.[57]

Tour has twice won the George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching at Rice University in 2007 and 2012.

In 2016, Tour was listed as an ISI highly cited researcher.[58]

Views on religion and intelligent design[edit]

In 2001, Tour was one of a small number of nationally prominent researchers among the five hundred scientists and engineers whose names appeared on the Discovery Institute's petition, "A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism".[59] The petition states "we are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged."[60] Tour claims to be a proponent of intelligent design,[61] the two-sentence statement has been widely used by its sponsor, the Discovery Institute, and some of their supporters in a national campaign to discredit evolution and to promote intelligent design.

Tour was born into a Jewish family and became a born-again Christian in his first year at Syracuse.[42] He identifies as a Messianic Jew,[62] which is considered a form of evangelical Christianity by the State of Israel and major Jewish movements.[63] He feels that religion plays no part in his scientific work.[42]


  1. ^ "James M Tour Group".
  2. ^ "James M. Tour Inventions, Patents and Patent Applications – Justia Patents Search". patents.justia.com. Retrieved May 30, 2020.
  3. ^ "James M. Tour – Google Scholar Citations". scholar.google.com. Retrieved May 30, 2020.
  4. ^ Scrivens, W. A.; Tour, J. M. (1992). "Synthesis of Gram Quantities of C60 by Plasma Discharge in a Modified Round-Bottomed Flask. Key Parameters for Yield Optimization and Purification". J. Org. Chem. 1992 (57): 6932–6936. doi:10.1021/jo00051a047.
  5. ^ Scrivens, W. A.; Bedworth, P. V.; Tour, J. M. (1992). "Purification of Gram Quantities of C60. A New Inexpensive and Facile Method". J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1992 (114): 7917–7919. doi:10.1021/ja00046a051.
  6. ^ Higginbotham, A. L.; Moloney, P. G.; Waid, M. C.; Duque, J. G.; Kittrell, C.; Schmidt, H. K.; Stephenson, J. J.; Arepalli, S.; Yowell, L. L.; Tour, J. M. (2008). "Carbon Nanotube Composite Curing Through Absorption of Microwave Radiation". Composites Sci. Tech. 68 (15–16): 3087–3092. doi:10.1016/j.compscitech.2008.07.004.
  7. ^ Mitchell, C. A.; Bahr, J. L.; Arepalli, S.; Tour, J. M.; Krishnamoorti, R. (2002). "Dispersion of Functionalized Carbon Nanotubes in Polystyrene". Macromolecules. 35 (23): 8825–8830. Bibcode:2002MaMol..35.8825M. doi:10.1021/ma020890y.
  8. ^ Jung, M.; Kim, J.; Noh, J.; Lim, N.; Lim, C.; Lee, G.; Kim, J.; Kang, H.; Jung, K.; Leonard, A.; Pyo, M.; Tour, J. M.; Cho, G. "All Printed and Roll-to-Roll Printable 13.56 MHz Operated 1-bit RF Tag on Plastic Foils," IEEE Trans. Elect. Dev 1 2010, 57, 571-580.
  9. ^ Noh, J.; Jung, M.; Jung, K.; Lee, G.; Lim, S.; Kim, D.; Kim, S.; Tour, J. M.; Cho, G. (2011). "Integrable single walled carbon nanotube (SWNT) network based thin film transistors using roll-to-roll gravure and inkjet". Org. Electronics. 12 (12): 2185–2191. doi:10.1016/j.orgel.2011.09.006.
  10. ^ Berlin, J. M.; Yu, J.; Lu, W.; Walsh, E. E.; Zhang, L.; Zhang, P.; Chen, W.; Kan, A. T.; Wong, M. S.; Tomson, M. B.; Tour, J. M. (2011). "Engineered Nanoparticles for Hydrocarbon Detection in Oil-field Rocks". Energy Environ Sci. 2011 (4): 505–509. doi:10.1039/c0ee00237b.
  11. ^ Hwang, C.-C.; Wang, L.; Lu, W.; Ruan, G.; Kini, G. C.; Xiang, C.; Samuel, E. L. G.; Shi, W.; Kan, A. T.; Wong, M. S.; Tomson, M. B.; Tour, J. M. (2012). "Highly Stable Carbon Nanoparticles Designed for Downhole Hydrocarbon Detection". Energy Environ Sci. 2012 (5): 8304–8309. doi:10.1039/c2ee21574h.
  12. ^ Ruan, G.; Sun, Z.; Peng, Z.; Tour, J. M. (2011). "Growth of Graphene from Food, Insects, and Waste". ACS Nano. 5 (9): 7601–7607. doi:10.1021/nn202625c. PMID 21800842.
  13. ^ Sinitskii, A.; Tour, J. M. (2009). "Lithographic Graphitic Memories". ACS Nano. 3 (9): 2760–2766. doi:10.1021/nn9006225. PMID 19719147.
  14. ^ Li, Y.; Sinitskii, A.; Tour, J. M. (2008). "Electronic Two-Terminal Bistable Graphitic Memories". Nature Materials. 7 (12): 966–971. Bibcode:2008NatMa...7..966L. doi:10.1038/nmat2331. PMID 19011617.
  15. ^ Sano, D.; Berlin, J. M.; Pham, T. T.; Marcano, D. C.; Valdecanas, D. R.; Zhou, G.; Milas, L.; Myers, J. N.; Tour, J. M. (2012). "Noncovalent Assembly of Targeted Carbon Nanovectors Enables Synergistic Drug and Radiation Cancer Therapy in Vivo". ACS Nano. 6 (3): 2497–2505. doi:10.1021/nn204885f. PMC 3314092. PMID 22316245.
  16. ^ Sharpe, M. A.; Marcano, D. C.; Berlin, J. M.; Widmayer, M. A.; Baskin, D. S.; Tour, J. M. (2012). "Antibody-Targeted Nanovectors for the Treatment of Brain Cancers". ACS Nano. 6 (4): 3114–3120. doi:10.1021/nn2048679. PMID 22390360.
  17. ^ Zhu, Y.; Li, L.; Zhang, C.; Casillas, G.; Sun, Z.; Yan, Z.; Ruan, G.; Peng, Z.; Raji, A.-R. O.; Kittrell, C.; Hauge, R. H.; Tour, J. M. (2012). "A Seamless Three-Dimensional Carbon Nanotube Graphene Hybrid Material". Nature Communications. 3: 1225. Bibcode:2012NatCo...3.1225Z. doi:10.1038/ncomms2234. PMID 23187625.
  18. ^ Yan, Z.; Peng, Z.; Casillas, G.; Lin, J.; Xiang, C.; Zhou, H.; Yang, Y.; Ruan, G.; Raji, A.-R. O.; Samuel, E. L. G.; Hauge, R. H.; Yacaman, M. J.; Tour, J. M. (2014). "Rebar Graphene". ACS Nano. 8 (5): 5061–5068. doi:10.1021/nn501132n. PMC 4046778. PMID 24694285.
  19. ^ Ye, R.; Xiang, C.; Lin, J.; Peng, Z.; Huang, K.; Yan, Z.; Cook, N. P.; Samuel, E. L. G.; Hwang, C.-C.; Ruan, G.; Ceriotti, G.; Raji, A.-R. O.; Martí, A. A.; Tour, J. M. (2013). "Coal as an Abundant Source of Graphene Quantum Dots". Nature Communications. 4 (2943): 1–6. Bibcode:2013NatCo...4.2943Y. doi:10.1038/ncomms3943. PMID 24309588.
  20. ^ Xiang, C.; Cox, P. J.; Kukovecz, A.; Genorio, B.; Hashim, D. P.; Yan, Z.; Peng, Z.; Hwang, C.-C.; Ruan, G.; Samuel, E. L. G.; Sudeep, P. M.; Konya, Z.; Vajtai, R.; Ajayan, P. M.; Tour, J. M. (2013). "Functionalized Low Defect Graphene Nanoribbons and Polyurethane Composite Film for Improved Gas Barrier and Mechanical Performances" (PDF). ACS Nano. 7 (11): 10380–10386. doi:10.1021/nn404843n. PMID 24102568.
  21. ^ Volman, V.; Zhu, Y.; Raji, A.-R.; Genorio, B.; Lu, W.; Xiang, C.; Kittrell, C.; Tour, J. M. (2014). "Radio-Frequency-Transparent, Electrically Conductive Graphene Nanoribbon Thin Films as Deicing Heating Layers". ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces. 6 (1): 298–304. doi:10.1021/am404203y. PMID 24328320.
  22. ^ Yang, Y.; Fan, X.; Casillas, G.; Peng, Z.; Ruan, G.; Wang, G.; Yacaman, M. J.; Tour, J. M. (2014). "Three-Dimensional Nanoporous Fe2O3/Fe3C Graphene Heterogeneous Thin Films for Lithium-Ion Batteries". ACS Nano. 8 (4): 3939–3946. doi:10.1021/nn500865d. PMC 4004288. PMID 24669862.
  23. ^ Zhang, C.; Peng, Z.; Lin, J.; Zhu, Y. Ruan; Hwang, C.-C.; Lu, W.; Hauge, R. H.; Tour, J. M. (2013). "Splitting of a Vertical Multiwalled Carbon Nanotube Carpet to a Graphene Nanoribbon Carpet and Its Use in Supercapacitors". ACS Nano. 7 (6): 5151–5159. doi:10.1021/nn400750n. PMID 23672653.
  24. ^ Lin, J.; Peng, Z.; Wang, G.; Zakhidov, D.; Larios, E.; Yacaman, M. J.; Tour, J. M. (2014). "Enhanced Electrocatalysis for Hydrogen Evolution Reactions from WS2 Nanoribbons". Advanced Energy Materials. 4 (10): 1301875. doi:10.1002/aenm.201301875. S2CID 96788831.
  25. ^ Dimiev, A. M.; Alemany, L. B.; Tour, J. M. (2013). "Graphene Oxide. Origin of Acidity, Its Instability in Water, and a New Dynamic Structural Model". ACS Nano. 7 (1): 576–588. doi:10.1021/nn3047378. PMID 23215236.
  26. ^ Zhu, Y.; James, D. K.; Tour, J. M. (2012). "New Routes to Graphene, Graphene Oxide and Their Related Applications". Adv. Mater. 24 (36): 4924–4955. doi:10.1002/adma.201202321. PMID 22903803. S2CID 205246630.
  27. ^ Dimiev, A. M.; Tour, J. M. (2014). "Mechanism of Graphene Oxide Formation". ACS Nano. 8 (3): 3060–3068. doi:10.1021/nn500606a. PMID 24568241.
  28. ^ Romanchuk, A. Yu.; Slesarev, A. S.; Kalmykov, S. N.; Kosynkin, D. V.; Tour, J. M. (2013). "Graphene Oxide for Effective Radionuclide Removal". Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 15 (7): 2321–2327. Bibcode:2013PCCP...15.2321R. doi:10.1039/c2cp44593j. PMID 23296256.
  29. ^ Yao, J.; Lin, J.; Dai, Y.; Ruan, G.; Yan, Z.; Li, L.; Zhong, L.; Natelson, D.; Tour, J. M. (2012). "Highly Transparent Nonvolatile Resistive Memory Devices from Silicon Oxide and Graphene". Nature Communications. 3: 1–8. Bibcode:2012NatCo...3.1101Y. doi:10.1038/ncomms2110. PMID 23033077.
  30. ^ Yang, Y.; Ruan, G.; Xiang, C.; Wang, G.; Tour, J. M. (2014). "Flexible Three-Dimensional Nanoporous Metal-Based Energy Devices". J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014 (136): 6187–6190. doi:10.1021/ja501247f. PMID 24735477.
  31. ^ Lin, Jian; Peng, Zhiwei; Liu, Yuanyue; Ruiz-Zepeda, Francisco; Ye, Ruquan; Samuel, Errol L. G.; Yacaman, Miguel Jose; Yakobson, Boris I.; Tour, James M. (December 2014). "Laser-induced porous graphene films from commercial polymers". Nature Communications. 5 (1): 5714. Bibcode:2014NatCo...5.5714L. doi:10.1038/ncomms6714. ISSN 2041-1723. PMC 4264682. PMID 25493446.
  32. ^ Ye, Ruquan; James, Dustin K.; Tour, James M. (January 2019). "Laser-Induced Graphene: From Discovery to Translation". Advanced Materials. 31 (1): 1803621. doi:10.1002/adma.201803621. PMID 30368919.
  33. ^ Stanford, Michael G.; Li, John T.; Chen, Yuda; McHugh, Emily A.; Liopo, Anton; Xiao, Han; Tour, James M. (October 22, 2019). "Self-Sterilizing Laser-Induced Graphene Bacterial Air Filter". ACS Nano. 13 (10): 11912–11920. doi:10.1021/acsnano.9b05983. ISSN 1936-0851. PMID 31560513. S2CID 203581358.
  34. ^ Luong, Duy X.; Bets, Ksenia V.; Algozeeb, Wala Ali; Stanford, Michael G.; Kittrell, Carter; Chen, Weiyin; Salvatierra, Rodrigo V.; Ren, Muqing; McHugh, Emily A.; Advincula, Paul A.; Wang, Zhe (January 2020). "Gram-scale bottom-up flash graphene synthesis". Nature. 577 (7792): 647–651. Bibcode:2020Natur.577..647L. doi:10.1038/s41586-020-1938-0. ISSN 1476-4687. PMID 31988511.
  35. ^ Chu, P.-L.; Wang, L.-Y.; Khatua, S.; Kolomeisky, A.; Link, S.; Tour, J. M. (2013). "Synthesis and Single-Molecule Imaging of Highly Mobile Adamantane-Wheeled Nanocars". ACS Nano. 7 (1): 35–41. doi:10.1021/nn304584a. PMID 23189917.
  36. ^ Carroll, GT; Pollard, MM; van Delden, RA; Feringa, BL (2010). "Controlled rotary motion of light-driven molecular motors assembled on a gold surface" (PDF). Chemical Science. 1 (1): 97–101. doi:10.1039/C0SC00162G. hdl:11370/4fb63d6d-d764-45e3-b3cb-32a4c629b942.
  37. ^ Saywell, Alex; Bakker, Anne; Mielke, Johannes; Kumagai, Takashi; Wolf, Martin; García-López, Víctor; Chiang, Pinn-Tsong; Tour, James M.; Grill, Leonhard (2016). "Light-induced Translation of Motorized Molecules on a Surface" (PDF). ACS Nano. 10 (12): 10945–10952. doi:10.1021/acsnano.6b05650. PMID 27783488.
  38. ^ Tour, J. M. (1996). "Conjugated Macromolecules of Precise Length and Constitution. Organic Synthesis for the Construction of Nanoarchitectures". Chem. Rev. 1996 (96): 537–553. doi:10.1021/cr9500287. PMID 11848764.
  39. ^ Sun, Z.; Yan, Z.; Yao, J.; Beitler, E.; Zhu, Y.; Tour, J. M. (2010). "Growth of Graphene from Solid Carbon Sources". Nature. 2010 (468): 549–552. Bibcode:2010Natur.468..549S. doi:10.1038/nature09579. PMID 21068724. S2CID 4383333.
  40. ^ Kosynkin, D. V.; Higginbotham, A. L.; Sinitskii, A.; Lomeda, J. R.; Dimiev, A.; Price, B. K.; Tour, J. M. (April 2009). "Longitudinal Unzipping of Carbon Nanotubes to Form Graphene Nanoribbons". Nature. 458 (7240): 872–6. Bibcode:2009Natur.458..872K. doi:10.1038/nature07872. hdl:10044/1/4321. PMID 19370030. S2CID 2920478.
  41. ^ Dimiev, A.; Kosynkin, D. V.; Sinitskii, A.; Slesarev, A.; Sun, Z.; Tour, J. M. (2011). "Layer-by-Layer Removal of Graphene for Device Patterning". Science. 331 (6021): 1168–1172. Bibcode:2011Sci...331.1168D. doi:10.1126/science.1199183. PMID 21385709. S2CID 19226735.
  42. ^ a b c d Colapinto, John (December 14, 2014). "Material Question". The New Yorker. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  43. ^ Musser, George (November 2001). "Better Killing through Chemistry: Buying chemical weapons material through the mail is quick and easy". Scientific American. 285 (6): 20–1. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican1201-20. PMID 11759580. Retrieved September 6, 2007.
  44. ^ "Board of Directors – Weebit – A Quantum Leap In Data Storage". Weebit. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
  45. ^ "About". Tag | Trace | Verify. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
  46. ^ "Home". Zeta Energy. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
  47. ^ "Spinal cord repair with graphene-polymer nanoribbons". Materials Today. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
  48. ^ "Guardian G-Volt masks use graphene and electrical charge to repel viruses". Dezeen. March 6, 2020. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
  49. ^ "Nanorobotics". nanorobotics.tech. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
  50. ^ "About Us". Universal Matter. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
  51. ^ www.roswellbiotech.com https://www.roswellbiotech.com/technology/. Retrieved June 18, 2020. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  52. ^ "Technology". Rust Patrol. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
  53. ^ "Professor James Tour | Centenary Prize winner 2020". Royal Society of Chemistry. Retrieved June 24, 2020.
  54. ^ "Current NAI Fellows 2015". National Academy of Inventors. Retrieved June 17, 2016.
  55. ^ Staff Writers (January 21, 2014). "The 50 Most Influential Scientists in the World Today". TheBestSchools.org.
  56. ^ "R&D Magazine announces 2013 Scientist of the Year". Research & Development. November 1, 2013.
  57. ^ "Resume of James M. Tour, Ph.D." (PDF).
  58. ^ Williams, Mike (November 18, 2016). "9 Rice faculty on prominent 'highly cited' list". Rice University. Retrieved October 29, 2019.
  59. ^ Kenneth Chang (February 21, 2006). "Few Biologists but Many Evangelicals Sign Anti-Evolution Petition". The New York Times. Retrieved May 5, 2008.
  60. ^ "Signatories of 'A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism'" (PDF). The Discovery Institute. April 2008. Retrieved May 5, 2008.
  61. ^ "James M Tour Group » Evolution/Creation".
  62. ^ "James M Tour Group » Personal Statement". Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  63. ^ Burton, Tara Isabella (October 31, 2018). "Messianic Jews and Jews for Jesus, explained". Vox. Retrieved December 11, 2020.

External links[edit]