Albert Hofmann, who discovered the hallucinogenic properties of LSD, has died last Tuesday. He was 102.
Hofmann reportedly died of a heart failure at his hometown Basel, Switzerland.
Hofmann worked his whole life for the recognition of LSD as a medicine. He welcomed a decision by Swiss authorities last December to allow LSD to be used in a psychotherapy research project.
The Swiss chemist discovered lysergic acid diethylamide-25 in 1938 while studying the medicinal uses of ergot fungi at the Sandoz pharmaceuticals firm in Basel. He became the first person in the world that tripped on LSD when a tiny amount was absorbed by his fingertips on April 16, 1943. For several decades, Hofmann took the drug occasionally — out of scientific interest.
In a celebration of his 100th birthday at the World Psychedelic Forum in 2006, Hofmann told the crowd, which included 2,000 researchers, scientists, artists and historians, that "LSD wanted to tell me something. It gave me an inner joy, an open mindedness, gratefulness, open eyes and an internal sensitivity for the miracles of creation." Yet he does not deny the problematic consequences that its consumption as a “pleasure drug” could have for people. He wrote about this in his 1979 book: "LSD - my problem child."
Hofmann was also the first scientist to synthesize psilocybin, the active ingredient in psilocybin mushrooms, in 1958.