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Father of LSD dies aged 102

Albert Hofmann, the Swiss scientist who discovered the psychedelic drug LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), has died in Switzerland at the age of 102.

Hofmann died at his home on Tuesday, according to the registrar in Leimental in Basel where he lived with his wife Anita.

The Swiss chemist discovered lysergic acid diethylamide-25 in1938 while studying the medicinal uses of a fungus found on wheat and other grains at the Sandoz pharmaceuticals firm (which later merged with Ciba-Geigy to become Novartis).

LSD was elevated to international fame in the late 1950s and 1960s thanks to Harvard professor Timothy Leary who embraced the drug under the slogan “turn on, tune in, drop out”.

Its widespread use caused an outcry, which eventually led to a worldwide ban at end of the 1960s. It also gradually fell out of favour in the medical world. Sandoz stopped producing it in 1966.

Hofmann himself took the drug on an occasional basis for several decades, purportedly out of scientific interest.

Even so, the self-described “father” of LSD readily agreed that the drug was dangerous if in the wrong hands. This was reflected by the title of his 1979 book: “LSD – my problem child”.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR