Pioneer chemist Albert Hofmann dies at age 102

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Hofmann in 2006.
Image: Stefan Pangritz.

Albert Hofmann, a scientist who discovered and created the drug Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) in 1938, has died today at the age 102.

DRC Net reports that Hofmann's died of a heart attack in his house located in Basel, Switzerland.

After discovering LSD, he set it aside for five years, until April 16, 1943, when Hofmann decided to take another look at it. While re-synthesizing the LSD, he accidentally consumed a small sample and serendipitously discovered its powerful effects. Three days later, on April 19, Hofmann deliberately consumed 250 micrograms of LSD before his bicycle ride home.

He is now known as the first person to experience a 'trip' from taking it. Since then, LSD aficionados around the world unofficially proclaimed April 19, 1943 as Bicycle Day.

The drug was made illegal in the United States in 1966, and many other countries did the same, after heavy users were suffering permanent psychological damage.

Hofmann denounced the illegal use of the drug which became popular in the 1960s, but he was said to be disappointed that further research on theraputic uses was not conducted on it at the time.

Hofmann is also credited with the discovery of psilocybin, which is the main hallucinogenic found in Psilocybin mushrooms. He also discovered the make-up of Ololiuqui.

Hofmann was also on the Nobel Prize committee as well as a member of the American Society of Pharmacognosy and several other organizations.

Hofmann was born on January 11, 1906. He is survived by his brother Walter, 2 daughters, and 2 sons.