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Albert Hofmann Departs

Vale Albert Hofmann.

LSD wanted to tell me something. It gave me an inner joy, an open mindedness, a gratefulness, open eyes and an internal sensitivity for the miracles of creation.


Incredibly sad news today, with the passing of Albert Hofmann, “the father of LSD”, aged 102. Unconfirmed reports had been swirling for a few hours, but MAPS have just posted official confirmation on their website:

Albert Hofmann, the father of LSD, passed away at 9AM CEST on Tuesday April 29, 2008 at his home in Basel, Switzerland. Cause of death was a heart attack; two caretakers were there with him at the time. MAPS President Rick Doblin said, “[Albert and I] spoke on the phone the day after the Basel conference and he was happy and fulfilled. He’d seen the renewal of LSD psychotherapy research with his own eyes, as had [his wife] Anita. I said that I looked forward to discussing the results of the study with him in about a year and a half and he laughed and said he’d try to help the research however he could, either from this side or “the other side”.

Hofmann’s shadow looms large over the 20th century, with his synthesis of the psychedelic compound Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) not only inspiring the counter-culture of the 1960s, but also breakthroughs and cutting edge creations by scientists, technology pioneers, musicians and artists: DNA researchers Francis Crick and Kary Mullis are said to have been inspired by their encounters with the compound, Apple pioneer Steve Jobs once described taking LSD as “one of the two or three most important things” he ever did, musicians from the Beatles onwards were heavily affected by the new vistas of creativity they experienced under the influence of the drug, and Alex Grey (among many others) brought the psychedelic realms to life after being inspired by Hofmann’s “problem child”. Stop to really think about the events that followed from Hofmann’s “peculiar presentiment” and infamous bicycle ride, and you soon realise what an impact the man made upon human history.

Beyond discovering a strange compound and setting historic wheels in motion though, Hofmann was – quite simply – a gentleman. A quiet, inspired, creative and intelligent man, Albert Hofmann was held in high regard by all that met him and spoke with wisdom on the use and abuse of entheogenic compounds. He always maintained that LSD, and other psychedelic compounds, could be powerful allies if used correctly, despairing at the indiscriminate usage of the drug simply for ‘fun’. You can read his book LSD: My Problem Child online, which offers some excellent insights into the history of his discovery, and his thoughts on how LSD should be utilised.

In addition to his discovery of LSD, he was also the first to synthesize psilocybin, and also researched numerous other aspects of humanity’s deep historical involvement with psychedelics, from speculation on their use in the ancient mysteries at Eleusis, through to investigation of Salvia divinorum and Ololiuqui in the Americas. Hofmann was also credited with other important medicinal discoveries throughout his career.

A giant of history; a gentleman. Let’s hope that he’s continuing his exploration of those realms still.

  1. Pragmatic dreamer
    I’m positive he’s riding his bicycle in realms stranger and more beautiful than we can imagine.

    “Every day a dreamer dies, to see what’s on the other side” – U2, In God’s Country.

  2. Godspeed
    And happy trips 🙂

    It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
    It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

    Red Pill Junkie

  3. A.H. transition
    Oris Bracken

    My favorite group photo is of Leary, Hoffman and Lilly.
    They said Albert was standing on a box. Now they’re all gone.

    Perhaps the philosophy book that most influenced me is his slim volume “Insight Outlook”. It taught me the meaning
    of possessing vs. owning.

    And, needless to say, his Problem Child changed our world.

    Thank you, Albert.

  4. To Complete the Tribute
    Hofmann discovered, developer and/or invented many other drugs of all kinds during his career. Most important to consider is Hydergine, the first nootropic (cognitive enhancment) drug. Besides its effects on memory, it increases cerebral (and other) blood flow. He himself credited regular use of Hydergine for his longetivity, something that cannot be said of LSD.

    Had it not been for LSD, he may well have received the Nobel Prize for Hydergine. As it stands, due to the constant association to LSD with its politically incorrect connotation, very few even remember this other contribution, even within that same field. After winning the Nobel, Eric Kandel announced he was creating a company intended to develop “the first nootropic”. Kandel, as co-author of the bible of neuroscience, “Principles of Neural Science”, should know better. It is easy to assume he did, but more likely and much harder for those who accept LSD as a useful drug to consider that its reputation has overshadowed its creator and his lifetime sum of works to this extent.

    It’s fine to remember that bicycle ride and its results. But honor the memory of the man by remembering him for more, for he did so much more to remember.

    No, I am not the brain specialist…..
    YES. Yes I AM the brain specialist.

    1. Doof in the 90s
      [quote=DynaSoar]It’s fine to remember that bicycle ride and its results. But honor the memory of the man by remembering him for more, for he did so much more to remember.[/quote]

      Not to mention his dancing…friends tell me that he used to doof the night away to techno at conferences, despite being in his 90s at the time. 🙂

      Kind regards,
      You monkeys only think you’re running things

    2. Good to know.
      Thank you for sharing that bit of information. I had no clue about his other work.

      “The most erroneous stories are those we think we know best – and therefore never scrutinize or question.”
      Stephen Jay Gould

      “Against logic there is no armor like ignorance.”
      Laurence J. Peter

  5. Never Did LSD
    But I have done mushrooms. LSD just didn’t seem to be the right thing for me to do. But many people have had a much more interesting life, because of Uncle Albert’s wonderful find/mind!

  6. painting
    Does anyone know who painted that wonderful portrait of Mr. Hofmann? I would like to see a bigger picture of it.
    It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
    It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

    Red Pill Junkie

    1. Brummbaer
      Bigger Picture

      “Brummbaer is a German-American digital artist who has done work as an art director, designer, graphic artist, and 3-D modeler. His fine art and underground magazine Germania brought him recognition in Europe during the 1960s, and he orchestrated light shows for musicians such as Frank Zappa and Tangerine Dream. In 1985 the International Synergy Institute in Los Angeles invited Brummbaer to be their artist in residence, and work on their Fairlight CVI computer. Brummbaer began focusing on computer graphics. He created several short computer-generated animations and has done visual effects for a number of popular films. Brummbaer was one of the primary computer animators responsible for the special effects in the Tristar motion picture Johnny Mnemonic. Brummbaer also created an innovative opener for SIGGRAPH’s 1995 “Electronic Theater,” and has long been a pioneer in the world of digital animation, where he has been noted for his signature hallucinogenic style. In the autumn of 2003 Brummbaer was diagnosed with squamous head and neck cancer. During several months of chemo- and radiation-therapy he wrote the biographical novel On the Street: DXM in 1964 (Or My Best Friend Jesus.) For four years the squamous head and neck cancer has not returned, although now he is inflicted with bladder-cancer. Brummbaer recently completed his second book, What’s So Wrong With Love and Peace: 1965-67. To find out more about Brummbaer’s work visit his Web site:

      Kind regards,
      You monkeys only think you’re running things

      1. thx
        Gracias, mi amigo 🙂

        It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
        It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

        Red Pill Junkie

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