Feeds

Discoverer of LSD dead at 102

Albert Hofmann takes his final trip

The next step in data security

Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann, who in 1943 accidentally discovered the hallucinogenic effects of Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), has died at the age of 102, Reuters reports.

Hoffman passed away at his home in Basel on 29 April as a result of a heart attack, according to the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies.

The chemist had in the late 1930s been working on possible medical applications of alkaloid derivatives of the fungus ergot and subsequently synthesised a number of such derivatives, including LSD. It wasn't until 1943, however, when a small amount accidentally leaked onto his hand that the compound's mind-blowing capability was revealed.

Hoffman recounted a "remarkable restlessness, combined with slight dizziness", elaborating: "At home I lay down and sank into a not unpleasant intoxication-like condition, characterised by an extremely stimulated imagination.

"In a dreamlike state, with eyes closed (I found the daylight too unpleasantly glaring), I perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colours. After some two hours this condition faded away."

The rest is history. While the CIA infamously experimented with the mind-control possibilities of LSD during the 1950s and 60s in its Project MK-ULTRA, it was Timothy Leary and his "turn on, tune in, drop out" mantra who popularised the substance among the hippy movement and brought it to the attention of the wider world.

Hoffman maintained the movement had "hijacked" the drug and insisted he'd produced it "as a medicine and not as a substance to be abused". He continued to defend its possible use "in analysis of how the mind works, hoping it could be used to recognise and treat illnesses like schizophrenia", long after it was banned in the 1960s. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Bacon-related medical breakthrough wins Ig Nobel prize
Is there ANYTHING cured pork can't do?
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Stray positrons caught on ISS hint at DARK MATTER source
Landlubber scope-gazers squint to horizons and see anti-electron count surge
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.