You may know Albert Hofmann as the inventor of LSD. Because of his role in synthesizing this incredible molecule, Albert Hofmann could be credited as one of the most influential people of the last century.
Without his work, the hippie movement of the 60s would have never occurred and counterculture, as we know it, would be completely different. His work also led to the development of other lysergamides like LSZ.
Albert Hofmann books recount some of the most interesting stories of his life as well as some of his other achievements and accomplishments. Certainly, the invention of LSD was one of his paramount contributions. But that’s not to say that he didn’t do anything else.
About Albert Hofmann
Albert Hofmann was a Swiss chemist, born January 11, 1906, who died on April 29, 2008, at the ripe age of 102. Hofmann is mostly credited for his discovery of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), which he first accomplished in 1938.
He was also the first person to ingest the substance, making him one of the first (synthetic) psychedelic explorers. This wasn’t until 5 years after his original synthesis of the substance. He concluded that LSD had a number of important psychiatric uses and that it should be studied for medical purposes.
Albert Hofmann’s first real experience with LSD gave rise to what we presently refer to as ‘Bicycle Day.’ After taking what he later realized was a tremendously high dose of LSD, he found himself overwhelmed by its effects.
He had to get his assistant to help him ride a bicycle home. Once he arrived home he spent the rest of the day largely locked on the couch. His neighbor came by to bring him milk and check in on him, but he reportedly saw her not as the kind woman that she was, but as an evil witch who was determined to bring misfortune.
After his experience and subsequently realizing that he had consumed far too much of the substance, he decided to open up a new branch of research with more stable amounts of LSD. His research continued for several years until the counterculture movement of the 1960s got its hands on LSD and began to push the research forward at unprecedented levels.
Albert Hofmann Books
Albert Hofmann wrote a number of books throughout his years. He was also an important contributor to some books that changed the lives of those who read them. Some of his most popular include:
- LSD: My Problem Child, a book about his quandaries following the production of LSD as well as throughout his life. This is a good book for anyone interested in having an accurate picture of Hofmann’s life.
- Plants of the Gods, a book that looks at the ritual uses of psychoactive plants. This book explores the many influences that psychoactive plants have had on shaping the cultures of different people throughout the history of the planet.
- Insight/Outlook was one of Hofmann’s original pieces. This book concerns the perception of reality and different perspectives.
- The Road to Eleusis: Unveiling the Secret of the Mysteries. This is one of the more profound books that Hofmann was involved with, although it was not his work alone. It aims to address the secret of the Mysteries that have been conducted at Eleusis in Greece. The book collects the research and work of Hofmann, as well as a famed mycologist and historian, to discuss whether or not the sacred potion given to members of the initiation contained psychedelic compounds.
Albert Hofmann FAQ
Albert Hofmann was a very interesting man who led a prolific life. Anybody who has heard of him, or who is interested in the history of LSD, would undoubtedly want to have a few questions answered. Here are a few of the most common questions about the man. Generally, in the chemistry world, chemists aren’t accredited for ‘inventing’ things. Rather, they are accredited for discovering certain combinations of molecules or atoms that produce certain functions. Essentially, the molecules are always inherently possible within nature. The chemist’s job is simply plugging the different core components together to figure out what works. You might think that someone as famous as Hofmann would have come from a well-known or wealthy family, but this isn’t the case. Hofmann’s family didn’t come from money – in fact, they came from the opposite. Nonetheless, Hofmann enjoyed an idyllic childhood adventuring in nature in the region of Baden, Swiss. After his father grew sick, he sought work so he could pay his medical bills. He began to practice chemistry and proved to be an expert. This led to him becoming one of the most well-known chemists in the world.
Generally, in the chemistry world, chemists aren’t accredited for ‘inventing’ things. Rather, they are accredited for discovering certain combinations of molecules or atoms that produce certain functions. Essentially, the molecules are always inherently possible within nature. The chemist’s job is simply plugging the different core components together to figure out what works.
You might think that someone as famous as Hofmann would have come from a well-known or wealthy family, but this isn’t the case. Hofmann’s family didn’t come from money – in fact, they came from the opposite. Nonetheless, Hofmann enjoyed an idyllic childhood adventuring in nature in the region of Baden, Swiss.
After his father grew sick, he sought work so he could pay his medical bills. He began to practice chemistry and proved to be an expert. This led to him becoming one of the most well-known chemists in the world.
He was also the first chemist to isolate a number of popular psychedelics that occur in nature. After developing LSD, Hofmann became fascinated with natural plant psychedelics and began to work on extracting and isolating the active compounds. Some of his most popular inventions include:
- Methergine is a drug used to treat postpartum hemorrhaging. Like LSD, this drug is synthesized from the ergot fungus.
- Hoffman was the first to isolate and extract psilocybin and psilocin, the hallucinogenic substances found in magic mushrooms. He was also the individual who named these compounds.
- Hoffman also discovered LSA in Morning Glory seeds in 1960. LSA is often touted as a substance similar to LSD, however it is significantly milder.
- Hofmann discovered 4-AcO-DET, a synthetic tryptamine which he first produced in 1958 in Sandoz lab. The synthesis for this compound has since been described in Alexander Shulgin’s book, TiHKAL.
- Hydergine is an anti-dementia drug that works by dilating blood vessels in the body, also discovered by Hofmann.
- Dihydergot, another compound discovered by Hofmann and derived from ergot, is used for treating migraines.
When Did Albert Hofmann Discovered LSD?
Hofmann first discovered LSD in 1938, but the compound was ignored by researchers at the university for a few years. It was initially thought to be useless.
Hofmann returned to the cmpount 5 years later in 1943 on a whim. He later reported that the world had been in need of a change in consciousness due to the war, and that LSD was this change. His decision to return to his research was part of the universal need for conscious improvement.
Albert Hofmann is one of the most important figures of the last century. His experience and exploration in the field of chemistry singlehandedly paved the path for an entire counterculture movement (whether or not this was his intention) and he opened the doors to new avenues of therapeutic research.
Hoffman has since passed away, but his research and discoveries live on. Because of Hoffman, a vibrant and thriving community of chemists, researchers and enthusiasts continue to carry his work forward to levels that he would have never dreamed of.
Hoffman, before his death, spoke of his disapproval of the worldwide prohibition on LSD. He would undoubtedly be happy to learn of the recent developments across the planet that are encouraging the acceptance and distribution of LSD and other psychedelics as medicine.