back to article Discoverer of LSD dead at 102

Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann, who in 1943 accidentally discovered the hallucinogenic effects of Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), has died at the age of 102, Reuters reports. Hoffman passed away at his home in Basel on 29 April as a result of a heart attack, according to the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic …


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  1. Bad Beaver

    I say

    Farewell, old boy.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So long and thanks for all the fish

    especially those little singing green ones dancing a samba...

    Will never forget my first trip (a strawberry) and the subsequent adventures.

    Thanks mr Hofmann.

  3. Paul Smith

    Gordan Brown take note

    At 102, this is proof of how "lethal" these drugs can be!

  4. Elsnorff

    We salute you!

    And all those who sailed on the sea of tranquility you created

  5. jezza

    hats off

    thanks kind sir, for opening the door. Have found many great adventures and insights on the other side :)


  6. Anonymous Coward

    Long life

    102? Are people going to start promoting LSD as a life-extending drug perhaps?

  7. BigTim

    Thanks for

    "Super mario"

    Says it all?

  8. Elmer Phud

    screwed over

    Thanks for the great times I've had, thanks for letting me find out how much the senses are connected - who ever realised you could taste colour, I have a better understanding of synaesthesia thanks to Aceeeeeeed.

    But no thanks to the twats who stopped its use as possibly the best method of treating chronic alcoholics. No thanks to the various governments who have refused to listen to the shrinks saying it was the best tool they'd ever found.

    Mines the nice yellow sunshine one (am I really that old?)

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sigh ...

    This account does not chime with the one I heard .. in that one he started his trip on the bike ride home !

    RIP mate, you might not have agreed with what we did with your discovery, but aint that just the way it goes.

  10. Frank Bough

    A True Hero

    If only more people dropped acid rather than battering their brains with booze, skunk, coke et al. the world would genuinely be a better and more interesting place. What I want to know is, why was research indicating that LSD might be able to CURE alcoholism in many cases suppressed?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yet another LSD-related death

    Time for Gordon Ban to jump into action and reclassify it as Class EvenWorseThanClassA?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Salt, wound, rub here.

    The dude hated all you hippies for abusing his creation, and here you all are saying "thank you, dude, like wooooaahh, swirlyly colors, man!"

    You bl**dy thoughtless b*st*rds.

  13. Christos Georgiou

    Obligatory Joke

    -Grandma, did you see a little pill I left on the kitchen counter?

    -Forget the pink pill! Did you see the blue dragons?

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Forget DSL, I have LSD!

    Like so many others, I salute you Abbie, though I never personally knew you. I too have sampled your troubled prodigy, but not for many years. Just imagine what we'd know about our own minds (and souls?) if the field of psycho pharmacology had the free reign that video game designers (and weapons designers) do... icon's the penguin, but not because of Linux today :)

  15. Bad Beaver

    @ Salt, wound, rub here.

    Well, why can't they just be thankful for the invention in the first place? It is not necessary for your personal joy from an invention to be concordant with the ideas and ideals of its inventor. In fact, that would be a very limiting premise.

  16. GrahamT

    Acid burned a hole in my genes

    Headline in I.T. around 1967/8 when evidence of LSD's damage to genetic material became public.

    Presumably the sub works for El Reg now.

  17. Rob

    so long dude

    cheers for the melting walls, malteaser headed monster, the meaning of life (I forgot to write it down) the temporary inability to understand a word of English, and being stuck in a park all frickin day walking round in circles wondering if I'll ever recover, (always did)

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bill Hicks said it best

    Today, a young man on acid realised that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration and that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. There's no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and you are the imagination of yourself. Here's Tom with the weather...

  19. David Wishart


    ...for letting me fully enjoy playing sensible soccer wearing prism glasses, in a uv lit room, with a mate bouncing a large tigger just to the left of my blind spot in time with the orbs tower of dub.

    none of the above were hallucinations.

    thank you mr hoffman

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    no word from mars?

    our man from mars is understood to be disconsolate at the loss.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @Salt, wound, rub here

    Heh. No, we thank him for opening the doors to something that can be used as a very effective medicine for the mind. Try looking up "holotropic breathwork" when you come down from your high horse, it's perhaps the most effective type of psychotherapy today. No drugs, mind you, just breathing. Wouldn't have had that if it wasn't for Herr Hofmann and his mistake in the lab. And I sincerely doubt that he hated anyone, he seemed to me more to be a little sad that his great discovery became just a toy to most people.

    Thank you, Albert, see you around. Don't worry, some of us have figured out what the real "toy" is...

  22. It'sa Mea... Mario

    Intended or not, thank you for expanding my mind!

    And for some of the most interesting nights of my life!

    @Rob apart from the malteaser headed monster (never had that one!) we've had the same trips! :-)

  23. zappafrank
    IT Angle

    Ride the red dragon to walhala....

    I agree that Mr. Hoffmann was a scientist in the first place, and had very little to do with all that hippie trippin. He was just looking for a use of his invention that could lead to something positive. After reading most publications of Leary, about all the enlightments caused by use of LSD and various self experiments, i have to state: Basically LSD makes you high and trippin, act like you lost your mind, giggle about stupid stuff, and feel like riding a spaceship when you drive around in your car. But somehow it changes your point of view about life, the universe and everything....too much of it makes jack a dull boy...

  24. Paul Delaney

    Show me that I'm everywhere, but get me home for tea

    RIP Albert - I've always admired your work

    A Note to Mr Brown: In a desparate attempt to prove that LSD could be LETHAL in the 1970s scientists in the US managed to kill an elephant with it.

    It took 30,000 clinical doses...

    I've often wondered who decided what to use as the commercial name for LSD25 - it's


    Mine's the kaftan...

  25. Rich Kavanagh

    What a guy!

    I had a lot of good nights due to this bloke!

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It opened doors...

    It allowed one to explore possibilities within this reality, no hippy sh't here. Looking at the world around us and exploring possibilities about oneself and everything else and finding new perspectives, gaining greater clarity, and working through situations and problems which seemed impossible to manage otherwise. Through the exploration of the imagination that the substance has allowed, a substantial amount of the creative and artistic creations since the 60s have been made possible, giving humanity some genuine treats that regularly enrich peoples lives.

    But here's the real crux of the matter, at the end of the day it is a tool theat can open up the possibility to help people heal mentally, spiritually, and more, but if all a person uses it for is to get high and giggle that's all they'll get out of it too, and if a person abuses it rather than respects it they deserve the consequences of their actions.

  27. Anonymous Coward

    It opened doors...indeed

    The man left a complex legacy based simply on a well intentioned tool. Whatever his perspective on society and control, his accidental self-discovery created an opportunity for some people to use LSD. Some used it for fun and some used it for and me.

    Helping the alcoholic before the cure is what I like to think happened. We are born as babies with the geographical, political, and financial advantages and some physical and psychological disadvantages. For those that broke their wings through accidental or willed things that happened, it offered a modeler's objective space where the self-healer could re-construct something like the lost wing or at least reconcile the memories of flying with the current reality. Its use for me was a starting point and a doorway and I still observe events that are implausible and seemingly impossible and accept that I can create anything I want including the conditions where Implausibility and impossibility are real and possible.

    Strawberry, tangerine, blotter, purple haze, LSD25, Abbey Road, Tears of a Clown, Send in the clowns, I am the clown.

    What an invention it was. I did worry about my genes but having children that are healthy, inquisitive, active, and with wings intact makes me believe that it helps as long as caring people use it, administer its use, and protect those that are using it.

    Cheers to the accident of this man's discovery.

  28. Anonymous Coward


    And so passes the man that invented the substance that allowed me to see not only the majestic soaring beauty of the sodium lamp lit underside of Spaghetti Junction, but also two youths joyriding in a milk float at 5am in Crewe.

    Penguins, Strawbs, Buddhas, whatever - a good time was had by all.


  29. E


    never did a thing for me.

  30. Lee Sexton

    @Anonymous Coward

    As anonymous coward put it, we abused and hijacked his creation and he didn't approve. And? Lifes full of synthetic drugs we have used and abused, thats part of it, he shouldn't have opened his mouth and said he had a pleasant journey on it should he? Or was it a case of he wanted to exploit this to gain publicity for his drug? Then isn't it a 2 way street?

    We used to do acid every weekend until e's came on the scene in 89. Black Dragon, Red Dragon, Purple Ohms, Buddhas, microdots (always the best and strongest) etc etc. Fantastic times, going to the under 18's tripping out our nuts and then going home after and trying to act sober in the living room in front of parent for 10 mins then going to bedroom (to show I wasnt drunk lol).

    Sadly one bad trip (on mushrooms) has ruined the experience now (tried in 94 again on daffy ducks). But I had fantastic times when I was younger and would recommend taking to anyone wanting to expand their consciousness.

    Rest in peace my friend and enjoy your journey, hopefully it's like the best trip ever :)

  31. Tony Paulazzo


    Here's hoping the final door is the most interesting one yet.

  32. DaveK

    Albert Hofmann's dead..

    ... No, no, no, he's outside, looking in.

    Cheerio mate, and lots of thanks. We won't forget the debt of gratitude we owe you.

  33. Anonymous Coward

    See ??!!??

    ""Experiment with drugs and you'll die early.""

    102 years old... geesh.

  34. b166er

    Ah, the indole ring

    You'd have though this guy invented something, huh?

    Crikey, without LSD, we'd have had to fall back on psilocybin or mescaline.

    42, indeed.

  35. RobL

    Adios Mr Hoffman

    And thank you for the good times, the colours and those deep conversations that pushed human discovery to the limit...

    But I still don't think you can impress a Lion with a record collection, no matter how big the record collection is.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    Mines the Ohm, man they were heavy....

  37. Anonymous Coward

    and to think he'd have lived to 250 without those nasty drugs

    ...blotters - white lightening - purple ohms - black microdots - smileyfaces - strawberries; thanks for the earlier research mate, I shall call you, "Al". Al-ways a pleasure. Now you can scrape me off the ceiling again.

  38. Rob


    init, Christ I had a purple ohm it blew my brain to the other side of infinity, ,... Very interesting

  39. Edward Pearson

    Goodbye to...

    ...a truely facinating man, and dispite some people's opinion, he had no desire to see LSD used as a recreational drug.

    LSD looked like it was going to become a big deal in psychiatry circles, but all the research was cut short because of the Hippie movement and their penchant for the Acid.

    Read the obit here:,-LSD-inventor,-dies.html

  40. Anonymous Coward


    "Steal this book" was great. Oh, that's the wrong A. Hoffmann.

    Yep, 102 is a ripe age to live to, considering he took what the tabloids love to call the world's most dangerous mind-bending drug. Consider also that many people become deeply religious after taking LSD, so it's obviously not the anti-social horror that the likes of the Daily Mail would like us to believe.

    Full marks to b166er who implies that LSD is in a family with dozens of related psychedelic drugs, some of which - like DMT - occur naturally in the brain, and if anything, are even more bizarre in their effects. There's even some evidence that ergot (the fungus from which LSD is derived) has been used in religious rites in prehistoric times. It is, after all, responsible for the cosmic visions which accompany St. Vitus' Dance / St. Anthony's Fire. (Other symptoms are gangrene and convulsions. Just the sort of thing you want to experience while tripping, right?) Do you want some mouldy rye bread as a sacrament in your holy communion? It might put you touch with the almighty...

    Other ergot derivatives isolated by Hoffmann are regularly used in midwifery to stimulate contractions. There are doubtless thousands of people alive today who may have died in childbirth, or become brain damaged, without Hoffman's discoveries.

    Alcoholics Anonymous (and indeed any 12-step program) actually employs a similar technique to the now-illegal-and-abandoned LSD-therapy. It's just much slower, and less spectacular. The therapeutic mechanism is beautifully described by Gregory Bateson in "The Cybernetics of “Self”: A Theory of Alcoholism" (found in the collection "Steps to an Ecology of Mind"). Bateson does not mention LSD, but after reading that essay, it's immediately obvious how LSD (or any powerful psychedelic drug) could be extremely effective in treating alcoholism.

  41. Jean Ming

    Hofmann's Potion

    On death, Hofmann said, “I go back to where I came from, to where I was before I was born, that’s all.”

    On April 19th, 1943, Hofmann created the most powerful psychotropic substance: LSD, and experienced the first LSD “trip”. He was a chemist who valued a drug as a way to understand people’s oneness with nature. For the complete story on “Bicycle Day”, be sure to watch this amazing documentary "Hofmann's Potion"

  42. mark jacobs

    It's all in the skull broth...

    LSD proved that a slight (micrograms) alteration of the brain's chemistry, can yield phenomenally changed perception of the universe we are part of, to the extent that all opinion structures are dissolved. The government spends a fortune instilling certain opinions in the brains of its citizens, and that is why they abhor LSD so much - it twonks their efforts to condition a good consumer.

    Consequently, there is now a minority subset of humanity who realise the charade most other people live seriously. Quantum mechanics just reinforces the fact the we humans have no idea what is going on, and that what is in our heads is reflected in the reality we end up perceiving. (

    Like a dog chasing its own tail, common man will be going round in circles, pursuing whatever agenda has been set by those evil wrong-doers in charge of the planet.

    Take LSD a few times, and all this becomes transparently clear, much to the embarassment of those "controllers". Life is a journey, enjoy the ride! Your opinions are not important and have no effect on the reality of shared existence on a planet bursting with gentle, loving lifeforms.

  43. Midas

    My take on the matter...

    Farewell! And thanks for all the fish...

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