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Albert Hofmann
Photo by Erowid, Mar 25 2008
Albert Hofmann
Photo from
Albert Hofmann
Photo by C. Roessiger (early 1950s)
Albert Hofmann
Photo from Hofmann's Potion
Erowid Character Vaults
Albert Hofmann
Albert Hofmann was born in Baden, Switzerland in 1906. He graduated from the University of Zürich with a degree in chemistry in 1929 and went to work for Sandoz Pharmaceutical in Basel, Switzerland. With the laboratory goal of working towards isolation of the active principles of known medicinal plants, Hofmann worked with Mediterranean squill (Scilla maritima) for several years, before moving on to the study of Claviceps purpurea (ergot) and ergot alkaloids.

Over the next few years, he worked his way through the lysergic acid derivatives, eventually synthesizing LSD-25 for the first time in 1938. After minimal testing, LSD-25 was set aside as he continued with other derivatives. Five years later, on April 16, 1943, he re-synthesized LSD-25 because he felt he might have missed something the first time around. That day, he became the first human to experience the effects of LSD after accidentally ingesting a minute amount. Three days later, on April 19, 1943, he decided to verify his results by intentionally ingesting 250 ug of LSD. This day has become known as "Bicycle Day" as Hofmann experienced an incredible bicycle ride on his way home from the lab.

In addition to his discovery of LSD, he was also the first to synthesize psilocybin (the active constituent of 'magic mushrooms') in 1958. Albert Hofmann, known as the 'father of LSD', continued to work at Sandoz until 1971 when he retired as Director of Research for the Department of Natural Products. He continued to write, lecture, and play a leading role as an elder in the psychedelic community until his quick and relatively painless death from a heart attack at the age of 102.

Signed "LSD-60" Blotter Art
From 2000 through 2001, Erowid managed a project to digitize and publish Albert Hofmann's collection of more than 4,000 LSD-related papers. In 2003, partially in thanks for this work, Dr. Hofmann signed a number of sheets of "LSD-60" blotter art, 20 of which were donated by Jon Hanna to Erowid. One of the signed pieces of art is available as a membership gift for Ally-Level supporters of Erowid Center.

Author of (Books)
  • Entheogens and the Future of Religion, contributor (1997)
  • Insight Outlook (1989)
  • LSD: My Problem Child (1979) [online version]
  • Plants of the Gods (1979)
  • The Botany and Chemistry of Hallucinogens (1973)
  • Author of (Articles)
  • From Molecules to Mystery, in Higher Wisdom (2005)
  • The Transmitter-Receiver Concept of Reality, in ReVISION 10:3-4 p5 (1988)
  • Teonanácatl and Ololiuqui, two ancient magic drugs of Mexico (1971)
  • Index of Articles by A. Hofmann
  • Albert Hofmann's Address to Mind States, 2001
  • Interviews
  • "A Conversation with Albert Hofmann" by C. Grob (1996)
  • "Interview mit Dr. Albert Hofmann" by Lucius Werthmüller (Deutsch)
  • "Interview: Albert Hofmann" by Michael Horowitz, High Times 11:24-31,81 (1976)
  • Video & Film
  • An Evening with Albert Hofmann (1983) - Video by Don Rothenberg (Direct Download) Sep
    Interviewer: Will Nofke, Shared Visions (Berkeley CA)
  • Hofmann's Potion: The Early Years of LSD