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30 Apr 2008 09:22
Albert Hofmann, the Swiss chemist who discovered the hallucinogenic drug LSD, has died aged 102, the organisation that republished his book on the mind-altering substance said.
Hofmann died at his home in Basel, Switzerland on Tuesday, the California-based Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies said on its website.
Born January 11 1906, Hofmann discovered LSD when a tiny quantity leaked on to his hand during a laboratory experiment in 1943 and he noted a “remarkable restlessness, combined with slight dizziness” that made him stop his work.
“At home I lay down and sank into a not unpleasant intoxication-like condition, characterised by an extremely stimulated imagination,” Hofmann said of the experience.
“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,” Hofmann said, according to a profile for a meeting on LSD, held in Switzerland in 2006 to mark his 100th birthday.
“After some two hours this condition faded away.”
The former Harvard lecturer Timothy Leary popularised LSD with his “turn on, tune in, drop out” advice to students in the 1960s and its reputation as a mind-altering substance was further developed by rock stars.
Hofmann—who believed LSD was useful in analysis of how the mind works, hoping it could be used to recognise and treat illnesses like schizophrenia—defended his “wonder drug” and “problem child” for decades after it was banned in the 1960s
The chemist believed LSD was hijacked by the 1960s hippy movement and maintained he produced it as a medicine and not as a substance to be abused. - Reuters
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