Albert Hofmann

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Albert Hofmann in 2006

Albert Hofmann (11 January 1906 – 29 April 2008) was a Swiss scientist. He invented Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). Hofmann wrote more than 100 scientific articles and a number of books, including LSD: My Problem Child (1979).

Life[change | change source]

Hofmann was born in Baden, Switzerland. He studied chemistry at the University of Zürich. His main interest was the chemistry of plants and animals, and he studied about the chemical structure of the common animal substance chitin. Hofmann worked at the pharmaceutical-chemical department of Sandoz Laboratories in Basel.

Five years after its first synthesis, he discovered by accident the psychedelic effects of LSD, after absorbing some through his fingertips on April 16 1943. Three days later, he deliberately consumed 250 micrograms of LSD, and experienced far more intense effects. This was followed by a series of self-experiments. He first wrote about these experiments on April 22 of the same year.

He became director of the natural products department at Sandoz and went on studying hallucinogenic substances found in Mexican mushrooms and other plants used by the indigenous peoples. This led to the synthesis of psilocybin, the active agent of many magic mushrooms.

Hofmann called LSD "medicine for the soul".

He had a heart attack in his home in Burg im Leimental on April 29, 2008, and died at the age of 102.

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