James Wynne

Profile Updated: September 12, 2023
Residing In: Pikesville, MD USA
Spouse/Partner: Barbara J. (Silverberg) Wynne: wed in 1964
Homepage: View Website
Occupation: Scientist, Program Manager

Wife: Barbara J. (Silverberg) Wynne, wed in 1964
Barbara is from Rochester, NY. She went to college at Boston University, where she majored in Psychology and Education. Her first day at B.U. in 1961, she met Susan Diamond, a "gem" of a girl who knew me from the previous year and who made the match. On our first date, I was smitten. But it took me some time to propose marriage. We were married on August 22, 1964. The ensuing 50+ years have been fabulous.

Barbara taught 2nd grade in the Boston area while I was going through graduate school. After our second child started college in 1994, Barbara worked as an office manager at a Temple and later at a Music School. She is now retired.

Son: Keith A. Wynne, born 1974
Keith attended University of Delaware, where he majored in Early Childhood Education and Family Studies. After college, he taught English in Japan for two years, the second year as a kindergarten teacher to Japanese children in an all-English language school. Since returning from Japan, he has taught all grades of elementary school. He has a Masters in International Education from Columbia Teachers College and recently earned a Masters in School Administration from Baruch College. He is currently serving as a STEM Instructional Lead in the NY City Department of Education, based in Brooklyn North's Office of Field Support.
In 2012, Keith wed Theresa. She gave birth to a son, Oliver, on 12/18/2013, and a daughter, Charlotte, on 7/21/2016. Keith's parents know that he is a great father.

Daughter: Alexis E. (Wynne) Mogul, born 1976
Alexis attended Vassar College, where she majored in Physics (a "chip of the old block"). After college, she worked at Lawrence Livermore Lab, east of San Francisco. Then she attended Cornell University, where she earned a Masters in Applied and Engineering Physics.

In 2004, she married Douglas Mogul, who had been pursuing her since 1992 in high school. They moved to San Francisco in 2006, where Doug was trained in Pediatrics at Stanford University Medical Center. They now live to Baltimore, where Doug is on the staff of Johns Hopkins Children's Center . Alexis is the Co-Managing Editor, Journal of Neuro-Opthamology, a web-based, peer-reviewed journal.

Grandchildren: Amelia and Jonah Mogul, twins, born 12/5/2006.
They are terrific (and delicious) children (and I'm not the least bit biased). Barbara and I love to spend time with them, and Baltimore brings them closer to us than San Francisco. (Check out their pictures below)

Oliver McMahon Wynne, born 12/18/2013!!!!!!
Charlotte Crotty Wynne, born 7/21/2016!!!!!!


Harvard College, B.A. - 1964
Harvard University, Ph. D., Applied Physics - 1969


Lewis Love, my high school physics teacher, turned me on to physics as a possible career. During the summer of 1963, I took a job on Long Island working with lasers, which had been invented in May, 1960, just before we graduated from high school. At the end of the summer, I decided to go for a doctorate in physics and also propose to Barbara, both without first asking my parents permission. So I finally "grew up" at that summer.

My Ph. D. thesis at Harvard was in the area of nonlinear optics, a field that emerged with the invention of the laser. My thesis advisor, Nicolaas Bloembergen, later was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for being the "father" of nonlinear optics.

Fresh with my doctorate, I joined IBM Research, where I have been employed for ~53 years. For my first assignment, I worked at the IBM Zurich Research Lab in Ruschlikon, Switzerland, a suburb of Zurich. There I continued to investigate nonlinear optics.

Life in Europe was fantastic. Things cost ~1/4 of what they cost in the United States. We could eat at fine restaurants for $2/person. We could ski all day for $4/person. In Austria, we could stay in a chalet/hotel for $4/night, with a private bath and breakfast. Those were the "good old days."

During the week, I worked at IBM and Barbara planned our weekend trip. We traveled to Spain, Italy, France, Austria, Germany, The Netherlands, England, and everywhere in Switzerland. I estimate that I skied on 50 different days during my two winters in Switzerland.

Upon returning to the US in January, 1971, I joined the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, NY, where I have worked ever since. We moved to our home in Mt. Kisco in 1973, and, after 48 years, moved to Pikesville, MD, a suburb of Baltimore.

At IBM, I continued to work in laser physics research through the early 1990s. Since then, I have had an administrative job with the office of the Director of Research. I spend a major part of my time recruiting IBMers to volunteer for technical education outreach, i.e., visiting local schools to get kids aware of and interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), with the goal being to stock the pipeline of future engineers and scientists.

As for my work in laser physics, my highest impact achievement was to co-invent excimer laser surgery, the foundation for laser refractive surgery (LASIK, PRK) -
National Inventors Hall of Fame profile . My IBM colleagues and I have received many awards for this discovery, including the National Medal of Technology and Innovation (presented to me by President Obama at the White House on February 1, 2013) and the National Academy of Engineering's (NAE) Russ Prize (presented to me at the NAE Awards Dinner and Ceremony on February 19,2013) , but the best personal reward was that my son, who was myopic and astigmatic, had the PRK procedure in 2006 and now sees 20/15 in each eye.

April 16, 2015 video of me entitled LASIK Surgery: How IBM's Dr. James Wynne Discovered It

2010 marked the 50th anniversary, not only of our high school class' graduation, but the invention of the laser. Several professional science societies organized a celebration: LaserFest . See my LaserFest Profile as one of the "Faces in Laser Science."

In Jan. 2011, I was interviewed during a laser science and engineering conference in San Francisco.
8-minute-long video of that interview

In Oct. 2015, I was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering. Two other IBMers who were also inducted are Ginni Rometty, IBM CEO, and Ghavam Shahidi, my IBM Research colleague.

In May 2018, the National Inventors Hall of Fame(NIHF) annual induction ceremony was held at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC. The NIHF created a "cartoon" image of me as a "superhero" for my invention of excimer laser surgery. I uploaded this image to my profile. Take a look.

Thanksgiving 2021: 40 years ago, the day after Thanksgiving, a sample of leftover Thanksgiving turkey opened the door to LASIK and PRK. IBM Research Communications interviewed me and published this Thanksgiving Day blog

One more thing: In 2005, Les Paul was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for his invention of the solid body electric guitar. For the occasion, I composed lyrics about the 2005 inductees, to the melody of Les and Mary Ford's hit song "How High the Moon." At the induction event, Les joined the combo providing background music for the event, and they played "How High the Moon" while I and many of the other attendees sang my lyrics - see a picture of us in my photo album. Les passed away on August 13, 2009, at the age of 94. His influence on modern music is staggering.

Lifelong Hobbies:

Tennis - since 1952; my hand-to-eye coordination and my serve have never been better; my speed afoot leaves a lot to be desired; but I now bend my knees, the failure to do so being the "Achilles Heel" of my tennis youth
Squash rackets (until ~10 years ago) - I was a member of our varsity team that was the national champion in 1963-64. But I can't really brag too much, because my roommate, Vic Niederhoffer, who played #1 on the varsity for three years, was the intercollegiate champion, won the U.S. Nationals on 5 different occasions, and even won the North American Open in 1975. To learn more about Vic, see Victor Niederhoffer
My favorite book of fiction is The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, even though I mostly disagree with her philosophy, i.e., I am a democrat, NOT a libertarian.
I recently reread The Crash of '79, by Paul Erdman, a fictional account of massive misbehavior, i.e. bad loans by big banks, compounded by a misguided war to take over the middle eastern oil fields. It is a great read, with an eerie foresight about the worldwide financial crisis launched in 2008.
I very recently read 2018's
Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup
by John Carryrou, about the rise and fall of the firm Theranos, the multibillion-dollar biotech startup headed by Elizabeth Holmes. It serves as a warning to not be taken in by something that seems too good to be true.
Travel - lived in Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Zurich; honeymooned in Bar Harbor, Maine; visited our grandchildren in San Francisco many times, and now visit them in Baltimore; visited our son while he lived in Japan; love to visit Sedona, AZ; visited Istanbul in May, 2011; visited Berlin, Prague, and Paris in May, 2013; most memorable short vacation trip: Florence, Italy.
Listening to music - Beethoven, Saint-Saens, Tchiakovsky, especially his violin concerto performed by Jascha Heifetz with Fritz Reiner conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Favorite movies - Lady and the Tramp & Fantasia, especially the
"Dance of the Hours" ballet featuring dancing hippos, ostriches, elephants, and alligators.

Community Activities:

In the past, I served on the Board of Directors of the American Physical Society, the Optical Society of America. the National Inventors Hall of Fame. and as an alternate (for the IBM Director of Research) on the Board of the New York Hall of Science, a hands-on science museum in Flushing Meadows Park, built during the 1964-65 World Fair.


Thoughts on the completed 50th Reunion:
I enjoyed the Reunion more than any one else. I feel like I was in labor for the past 5 years and was gratified to "give birth" to a very exceptional "baby" named "50th Reunion." Being there made me feel 50 years younger. All of you who attended were part of my "Fountain of Youth!"

After living in Mt. Kisco, NY, for 48 years, my wife and I moved to a suburb of Baltimore, MD, on May 13, 2021. We live near our daughter and her family.

I'm quite fond of Baltimore, which is where my IBM colleagues and I met two ophthalmologist at a conference in 1983. They were the ones who recognized that our invention of excimer laser surgery could be used to reshape the cornea without producing collateral damage. Today, we have LASIK and PRK. The meeting of the minds happened in Baltimore!

Did You Graduate From North Or South?


Elementary School Info:

Kensington School - last part of 1st grade, 2nd grade - Mrs. White
Saddle Rock School - 3rd grade, 4th grade - Miss Jansen, 5th grade - Mrs. Colvin, 6th grade, Ms. Watkins

Do you have an alternate address? Second home? Vacation home? What is the address?

Currently live at
2331 Old Court Road - Unit 502
Pikesville, MD 21208

James' Latest Interactions

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James Wynne has left an In Memory comment for his Profile.
Sep 24, 2023 at 12:20 PM

Here's a picture of the exquisite metal tie that Maddi bought for me when I visited her in Santa Cruz in 1991:

Close-up of the tie, showing the various colors of the metal pieces. An artistic jewel, just like Maddi, herself!

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Sep 12, 2023 at 8:21 PM
James Wynne has left an In Memory comment for his Profile.
Sep 11, 2023 at 1:09 PM

Maddi was a rare and beautiful soul, and I feel so blessed to have known her.

I knew her “at a distance,” since I thought she was the one of the most beautiful of all of our female classmates, but I was too shy to approach her personally. I still admire her artwork, which was published in our high school student newspaper, decorated our class parties, and I can still be seen it in our “Arista”, for which she served as Art Editor.

I also knew she was a close friend of our “superstar” classmate Donny Bloch, and I was jealous. Donny was our class valedictorian, and he was certain to get into any college he wanted to attend. Of course he got into Harvard, and that’s where he went. Looking back, knowing Donny’s pervasive excellence inspired me to work harder, which really paid off. Maddi went to college at the Rhode Island School of Design, in Providence, RI. I recall that she once visited Donny at Harvard during our freshman year, and many of our Harvard classmates saw her and wanted to know how he knew this very beautiful girl. See what Maddi wrote about him in his "In Memory" page.

After high school, the next time I met Maddi was in 1990 at our 30th high school Reunion.  After that reunion, I was in San Jose for a conference, and I visited her at her home in Santa Cruz. Her house was like a "museum," filled with her and other people's artwork. She also took me shopping and bought me a special tie made of colored metal links, not of cloth or silk. I still have that tie, and it reminds me of her extraordinary artistry.

Over the next 3 decades, we frequently communicated by email. Once she told me about the vacation she and her daughter, Yvonne, took to Sedona, AZ, where they stayed at the Enchantment Resort, a place that she described as "Heaven on Earth." Since my wife and I frequently vacation in Sedona, on our next trip, in memory of Maddi, we'll be sure to stay at this Resort, a place that mirrors the beauty that Maddi, herself, embodied.

James Wynne has left an In Memory comment for his Profile.
Sep 07, 2023 at 6:49 PM

I'm so saddened to learn of Maddi's passing. I was last in contact with her this past December, and I had no inkling that she was not in excellent health.

After I dry my tears, I will compose a longer In Memory about Maddi, an artist par excellence

James Wynne added a photo to his profile gallery. New comment added.
Sep 04, 2023 at 12:30 PM

Posted on: Sep 04, 2023 at 12:26 PM

James Wynne has a birthday today.
Mar 19, 2023 at 4:33 AM
James Wynne has left an In Memory comment for his Profile.
Mar 12, 2023 at 2:06 PM

I remember Jane as sweet, kind, and generous. In my copy of our Class of 1960 Arista, she wrote "To a great athlete, genius, and very modest boy." That's what I call generosity.

Upon learning of the passing, in 2013, of Lewis Love, our greatest of all science teachers, she wrote " Now, I was the really lucky one: he was my teacher in 7th, 9th, & 12th grade.  His enthusiasm, ability to perk a student's interest in science, and endearing manner influenced me on so many levels. Among his many gifts, I learned to think like a scientist and to teach the scientific method to so many children over the years. I majored in Chemistry (most unusual for a female in those days), I worked as a chemist (truly an oddity in the 60's), and I taught in the field (passing on his methods and values).  For me, his most valuable legacy was an understanding of horrific consequences of nuclear bombs and plants.  How sad how few today truly understand the implications.  He will always be a part of my heart."

And Jane, you too will always be a part of my heart! Rest in peace.

James Wynne has left an In Memory comment for his Profile.
Jan 25, 2023 at 4:34 PM

Michael was a renowned leader in studying and using light, in particular lasers, for biological
studies and bioengineering applications. He made significant contributions to using light to alter, manipulate, and analyze cells and tissue. This includes the development of the laser-based microscopy tools, known as laser scissors and tweezers, and combining them with computer imaging, robotic tools, microfluidics, and molecular imaging biosensors. These technologies are used to study cell phenomena such as cell motility, mechanisms of mitosis/meiosis, DNA repair, neuronal repair and regeneration, and various problems in developmental biology.

After high school, Michael went to Cornell to study biology, and I went to Harvard to study physics. We reconnected in the early 1980s when he founded the Beckman Laser Institute (BLI) and Medical Clinic in Irvine, CA, in 1982. This was just after my IBM Research colleagues and I discovered excimer laser surgery in 1981. Had Michael's institution been physically closer to my institution in Westchester County, I would almost certainly have entered into collaborations with his team at the BLI. As it turned out, the application of excimer laser surgery to LASIK and PRK evolved from my team's collaboration with ophthalmologists based at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. Michael cited our discovery of excimer laser surgery as seminal, and he used it in his undergraduate and graduate courses at UC Irvine and UC San Diego as a primary example of how an invention makes it all the way from the US Patent stage, referring to the original patent of my IBM team, to a highly successful commercial product that benefits millions of people.

I remember reading Michael's article "Laser microsurgery in cell and developmental biology," Science, Vol. 213, pp. 505-513 (1981), which described using laser microbeams for microirradiation of selected nucleolar genetic regions and for laser microdissection of mitotic and cytoplasmic organelles, and realizing that lasers could lead to a revolution in bioengineering. His article "Laser Surgery," Scientific American, Vol. 264, No. 6, pp. 84-91 (JUNE 1991), provided an excellent review of the state of the art in 1991 and anticipated advances that have occurred in the ensuing 3 decades. Michael's scientific innovations earned him the nickname “the father of laser microbeams.”

I share the grief with his family over the loss of their loved one. He was an remarkable scientist, who made many valuable contributions to the world. 

James Wynne has left an In Memory comment for his Profile.
Jan 25, 2023 at 4:01 PM

Tamara Metz Karn, Michael's daughter, remembers her father, who passed away on 8/13/22:

My most cherished memories of my father are of his relationships with animals and his curiosity about nature.  When I was about 18 months old, he was suppose to be babysitting me while my mother took my brother to a horseback riding lesson to do something special with him; dad took me to the stable to watch my mom and brother ride, and he took me to pet the horses.  (We have a photograph of this in the family album.)  When we moved to California in 1972, dad bought horse property and two horses.  I remember trail riding with him  and learning about the California landscape …the Avocado trees, Orange trees, Walnut trees, Eucalyptus trees, Artichokes; we spotted coyotes, rattlesnakes, hawks, owls, roadrunners.  He taught me to be observant of the natural world.  He inspired and enabled my love for horses to grow into a passion and a talent.  I became an accomplished equestrian as an adolescent and into my teen years.  Despite my father’s career and travels, he somehow never missed one of my competitions.  He and my mother traveled all over Southern California to watch my horse shows, and they supported this expensive sport in every way possible.  The bonds my father had with all of our animals  (horses, dogs, rabbits, fish) I have inherited. 

James Wynne added a photo to his profile gallery.
May 19, 2022 at 11:31 PM
Barbara and me at the 2022 National Inventors Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Washington, DC
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May 13, 2022 at 6:38 PM

Posted on: May 13, 2022 at 10:00 AM

Tucson is quite a change from Sonoma. I don't know any vineyard owners in Tucson, so I can't take you to any such place in Tucson. Maybe we'll go to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum the next time I'm in Tucson.
All my best!

James Wynne has a birthday today. New comment added.
Mar 19, 2022 at 12:00 PM

Posted on: Mar 19, 2022 at 4:33 AM

James Wynne has left an In Memory comment for Allan Goldman.
Feb 03, 2022 at 1:36 PM

My wonderful physics teacher, Lewis E. Love, passed away in January 2013.

On the occasion of their 50th Reunion, four members of the Great Neck North HS Class of 1963 decided to create the Lewis E. Love Memorial Science Education Award. After one of them heard my eulogy at Mr. Love's funeral, he asked me to join his team to raise money from our Great Neck classmates to fund the Love Award. So I sent out an email to all of our Great Neck HS Class of 1960 classmates. 

Many of you remembered Mr. Love as the "best of the best" teachers we had in high school and made donations.  But the STAR donor, by far, was Allan Goldman. Of the ~$140,000 we have raised to fund the Love Award, Allan donated $70,000, $10,000 a year for the past 7 years, from the Sol Goldman (Allan's father) Charitable Trust, where Allan served as a co-Trustee.

I have regularly thanked Allan for his generosity, and I grieve with his family over his passing.

Those of you who remember Allan, please consider contributing your own In Memory entry.

All my best to all of you.

James Wynne added a photo to his profile gallery.
Nov 13, 2021 at 3:08 PM
With my sister Judy (GNHS '57) in 1953, at the boat dock in GN Estates Park
James Wynne has left an In Memory comment for Donald Bloch.
Aug 29, 2021 at 11:10 AM

Here is the short obituary for Donny, published in the September - October, 2021, issue of Harvard Magazine:

Donald Alan Bloch, A.B. '64, Ph.D. '71, died January 16 in Amsterdam. He spend most of his life after Harvard in Amsterdam, living first on a houseboat and later in a seventeenth-century house on the Keizergracht. He published several novels and some poetry, and accompanied his partner (later spouse), a Dutch anthropologist, on extended public service projects in Kenya and Indonesia. Inveterate travelers to India, they also collaborated on a book of photographs, Seduced by the Beauty of the World: Travels in India. He leaves his husband, Iman Bijleveld.

James Wynne has left an In Memory comment for Sally Levitt Steinberg.
Jun 17, 2021 at 9:22 PM

Submitted by Elizabeth "Betsy" Marcus (Dowling)

All of us girls remember Sally with great admiration and affection. She was a role model for those of us who aspired to be writers. Her "The Donut Book" is a delicious classic, and she deserves to be remembered as "America's Donut Princess." 

James Wynne has left an In Memory comment for Donald Bloch.
Jun 17, 2021 at 9:11 PM

Submitted by Elizabeth "Betsy" Marcus (Dowling)

Like so many of you, I remember Donny with affection and great admiration. He was so accomplished in so many ways, and he provided leadership to all of us and advice whenever anyone asked for help. He was one of a kind.

James Wynne has a birthday today. New comment added.
Mar 19, 2021 at 1:31 PM

Posted on: Mar 19, 2021 at 4:33 AM

James Wynne has left an In Memory comment for Donald Bloch.
Mar 16, 2021 at 6:04 PM

Donny and I were not only in high school together, we were both at Harvard for college and graduate school  In grad school, I formed a squash racquets team that competed in the Boston area "B" league competition. Donny was one of the members of my team during the 1966-67 academic year. In browsing through my scrap book from my Harvard years, I came across this picture:

I'm kneeling on the right, Donny is squatting in the middle, and the four others are my grad school classmates and friends.

This picture brings back very fond memories. Donny was very special, and I think about him often, as do many of you.

Wishing you good health and a happy and fulfilling future.

James Wynne has left an In Memory comment for Donald Bloch.
Jan 20, 2021 at 1:20 AM

I learned of Don's passing from Roz Avnet and informed Bobby Hamburger and Arthur Levi, who had been in regular contact with Don. They told me that he had died from COVID on January 15th. He had suffered from Parkinson's Disease for many years, which prevented him from attending our 50th reunion.

Don was our GN North valedictorian. He was Chief Editor of our ARISTA. If my memory serves me well, he was also the top Latin scholar in NY state. Not only was he our top scholar in high school, he was also with me on our high school math and tennis teams.

He would get into any college to which he applied, and the winner was Harvard, where he earned his BA in 1964 and PhD in 1971. 

Knowing his all-around excellence in high school encouraged me to reach higher, and I was rewarded by also getting admitted to Harvard. That's a debt to Don that I can never repay.

Don lived in Amsterdam for the past many decades (maybe ~40 years). He was a creative writer par excellence. I recommend that you find and read his book "Seduced by the Beauty of the World: Travels in India," with photos from his companion Iman Bijleveld, published by Harry N. Abrams in 2003.


1/23/2011 -  Great to see all these comments, which recall how much we admired Donny and share how much he meant to us.

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Posted: Sep 04, 2023 at 12:48 PM
Cathedral Rock in Sedona, AZ, a place we have often visited, most recently in December, 2022. This picture hangs on the wall in our kitchen, reminding us to come back to Sedona.
Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 12:43 AM
How I looked in 1958, in Havana, Cuba, where I spent most of 11th grade. We returned to Great Neck soon after Fidel Castro took power in Cuba, and I completed 11th grade (and all of 12 grade) at GN North HS.
Posted: Nov 13, 2021 at 3:08 PM
With my sister Judy (GNHS '57) in 1953, at the boat dock in GN Estates Park
Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 12:43 AM
My ticket to our 50th Reunion
Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 12:43 AM
Left to right:
My father, Richard Wynne; my mother, Beatrice Wynne; my future wife, Barbara Silverberg; yours truly - at the Club Caribe, Caribe Hilton, San Juan, Puerto Rico, February 1964. Don't we look happy?

Barbara and I were married that August, and I was even happier, and still am!!
Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 12:43 AM
Photo of me (in the middle) and 3 IBM colleagues being inducted as Commandeurs d'Honneur. Man on the right is the Grand-Maitre presiding over the induction ceremony
Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 12:43 AM
Decree inducting me as a Commandeur d'Honneur of the Wine Society of the Medoc and Graves regions of Bordeaux, France - Sept. 1983
Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 12:43 AM
National Inventors Hall of Fame event, May 2005, when Les Paul, inventor of the electric guitar, was inducted.

I'm standing in the middle, holding up lyrics I wrote to "How High The Moon". Les is to the far right, playing a Les Paul/Gibson electric guitar. The women to the left is Joel Schmiegel, the wife of the inventor of Prozac.
Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 12:43 AM
Electron micrograph of human hair, etched by pulses of ultraviolet light from an excimer laser. The discovery of this technique, by me and my IBM colleagues, laid the foundation for the laser refractive surgery procedures, LASIK and PRK.
Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 12:43 AM
My wife, Barbara; Our son, Keith; Our daughter, Alexis; myself - at Alexis' wedding, 10/3/2004 (Doug, the groom, is not in the picture)
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Posted: Aug 08, 2021 at 7:42 PM

James Wynne

Posted: Aug 08, 2021 at 7:38 PM

James Wynne