Swiss scientist who invented LSD and had first ever 'bad trip' dies at 102
By ALEXANDRA WILLIAMS
Last updated at 21:14 30 April 2008
Pandora's box: Albert Hofmann, who first synthesised the psychedelic drug LSD
The scientist who discovered the psychedelic drug LSD has died aged 102.
Albert Hofmann - the first person to experience an acid trip - had a heart attack at his home near Basel on Tuesday.
Mr Hofmann had been working as a chemist studying ergot fungus when he stumbled on lysergic acid diethylamide in 1943.
He absorbed a trace of the compound through his skin and experienced what he described as "restlessness and dizziness".
Three days later he took a bigger dose before cycling home.
He wrote in his journal: "Everything in my field of vision wavered and was distorted as if seen in a curved mirror.
"I also had the sensation of being unable to move from the spot. I was cycling, cycling, but time seemed to stand still."
After about six hours, the experience became fun. "I began to enjoy this wonderful play of colours and forms, which it really was a pleasure to observe.
Later in life Hofmann saw LSD as his 'problem child'
"Then I went to sleep and the next day I was fine," he wrote.
LSD was initially hailed as a wonder drug for use in psychoanalysis.
Then in the 1960s, largely at the instigation of psychologists Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert, the drug began to be used first as a pathway to spiritual enlightenment then as a recreational drug.
The fact that it was cheap and easy to manufacture left it open to abuse.
It was banned around the world after a number of people under its influence leapt to their deaths believing they could fly.
"Instead of a wonder child, LSD suddenly became my problem child," Mr Hofmann wrote.
The chemist's other studies led to the development of medicines such as Hydergine, which boosts circulation and brain function.
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