Albert Hofmann has died of a heart attack, at the age of 102, at his home in Basel. The Swiss chemist discovered the hallucinogenic drug LSD.
He first produced LSD in 1938, while researching the medicinal uses of a crop fungus. Before it became a popular street drug in the 1960’s, his hope was to use LSD to treat mental illness.
After accidentally ingested some of the drug, he said “Everything I saw was distorted as in a warped mirror.”
A few years after first producing the drug, Mr Hofmann ingested some of it through his fingertips, while working with the drug in the Sandoz pharmaceutical laboratory.
He went home and experienced what he later described as visions of “fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colours.”
Timothy Leary, Harvard professor, popularised the drug by suggesting that people “turn on, tune in, drop out.”
Rock stars and the counter-culture of the 1960s picked up LSD as a wonder drug. Then horror stories began to emerge of users suffering permanent psychological damage.
LSD was made illegal in many countries beginning in the late 1960s.