Albert Hofmann, LSD inventor, RIP

Albert Hofmann, who first synthesized Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), has passed away. He was 102 years-old.
 2007 10 Hoffman"I believe that if people would learn to use LSD's vision-inducing capability more wisely, under suitable conditions, in medical practice and in conjunction with meditation, then in the future this problem child could become a wonderchild." -- Albert Hofmann (1906-2008)

Link to Wikipedia article, Link to (Thanks, Wayne de Geere III!)

UPDATE: News of Hofmann's death may have been greatly exaggerated. But boy, that's sure a great quote and we're happy Dr. Hofmann still seems to be riding his mental bike around Switzerland.

UPDATE: Over at The Stranger's blog, Dominic Holden says that the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies has confirmed Hofmann's death. Link (Thanks, NaFun!)

UPDATE: The fine folks at Erowid have also confirmed. Apparently, Hofmann died this morning of a heart attack. Link

UPDATE: And an obituary from The Telegraph. Link


  1. Inventor? Or discoverer?

    Hoffman apparently believed low doses of LSD acted as a longevity drug and cognitive enhancer. 102 sure won’t hurt those claims.

    Wow. Big, big news to some of us. To the rest, just another day.

    He’s biking in Heaven. Blessings to you, Albert!

  2. This is a sad day… but I’m happy that I’ve been able to meet him almost once.
    Have a nice TRip Albert wherever your are riding your bicycle!!!!!!

  3. #1, Hoffman is both the discoverer and inventor of LSD. He added some extra chemical groups to Lysergic Acid (which does occur in nature), but he also discovered the vision inducing aspects of LSD-25.

  4. Oh thank Dobbs for Albert! You changed my life! Please join me in a moment of silence! Careful, that’s not a communion wafer…

  5. Bless, Dr. Albert, death is just the next trip.

    On a lighter note, I’m sure there’s a better clip of this somewhere, but Baron Mayhew, an English MP, once experimented with acid for a Panorama episode:

    It reminds me of the time I wouldn’t go out for pizza because I insisted to my friends I wanted to see the rest of the circus, which was in reality of course, a blank wall. But then, what is reality?

  6. I first saw the anonymous post stating he was dead
    and after searching several world press media outlets found nothing until a few moments when Boing Boing started showing up!

    Still waiting for an official word but right now this exists in the world of one bulletin board only.

  7. Sadly, this story is true. This has been confirmed with people that know.

    No news sources have picked it up because the news is coming out right now.

    Good scoop, Boing Boing.

    Happy trails, Albert.

  8. what kind of reporting is this?

    first i’m mourning then i’m thinking that maybe his longevity thing has some merit…

  9. I have yet to see substantiation.

    “people in the know” does count for substantiation, thats still gossip.

    Wikipedia? Well why dont you look at the edit war going on behind the scenes before you cite that. Refresh the page in 5 minutes and it will say something different.

    Or better yet, do some original research to confirm or debunk rumors rather then just posting gossip.

  10. People who know Albert have reported his death privately and many details are known. Nobody really cares if you believe this or not, it will be borne out in a few hours in the major media.

    Happy trails, Albert. To change the world as he did, to live beyond a hundred years as a lucid, brilliant and active man; to live a life of honor and nobility. So many ways that Dr. Hofmann lit the heavens.

  11. We received the information of his death from what we thought was a reliable source. I am waiting to hear back from people who know Dr. Hofmann personally.

  12. Direct confirmation from Rick Doblin of MAPS. End of speculation — let’s mourn him and celebrate his death appropriately. Bicycle ride, anyone?

  13. i think drudge-style unsubstantiated scoops like this are why i don’t read the BB with the frequency that i used to. it gets hard to take you seriously when your sources are reddit and wikipedia.

    even if true, you had no sources and everyone ate it up. it comes off as another example that bloggers don’t subscribe to the general ethics of journalism.

  14. I am happy to have a place to discuss this prior to the politics of preparing an official public information release is complete.

    Boing boing: ignore the irascible, crusty curmudgeons, with nothing better to do with their time than bemoan the rapid release of information that the internet enables. Yes, let’s all go back to paper journalism standards. I want to wait hours or days to hear the news.

  15. I’ve just heard from a caretaker that it is indeed true. Apparently it was a heart attack.

  16. What’s up with the moaners? The front page says that they are waiting for substantiation. If you want news that locked down (and a day old), go watch CNN.

    Re Dr Hofmann – thanks for the memories!

  17. i think drudge-style unsubstantiated scoops like this are why i don’t read the BB with the frequency that i used to.

    We miss you so much when you’re not here reading along with us. Personally, I make all my financial, business and relationship decisions based on the universal truth that I read here on BoingBoing. It’s my Bible, my New York Times and my Dr. Joyce Brothers all rolled up in one perfect news organization.

  18. I have enough personal confirmation on this to accept it as truth. I cannot think of anyone with exception to my parents who’s actions had more direct of an impact on my life. The cultivation of thought and imagination should be the goal of using substances that alter your perceptions rather the numbing of the senses. Rest well, Albert. You deserve it.

  19. @Jeff
    > Tim Leary didn’t live too long,
    > and he must have used enough of the stuff.

    Maybe it’s all about taking the right dose?

    “He has, he admits, taken LSD in his old age, in very minute, sub-psychedelic doses. It was originally intended as a circulatory agent, and maybe that, along with the heightened sense of oneness with nature it can bring, has kept him young.”


  20. @#33 posted by ustaath

    criminy, i’m hardly crusty. i’m just asking for a little corroboration, possibly some e-mails sent around, when reporting the death of a much loved scientific figure.

    if all you’ve got is ‘wikipedia’, i don’t think you can blame me for thinking ‘guh, internet noise.’

    i would rather wait an hour to hear some substantive truth than have hot-and-cold running rumor.

  21. M Hotel, several of us have received private emails with direct and detailed facts about Hofmann’s death, but it wouldn’t be ethical to post them directly or name names.

    The psychedelic community is somewhat secretive at times so blame it on that. Or blame it on the drug war more likely.

  22. I would not be the man I am today without his unintended results. You can take that any way you want.

  23. #31:jeff, tim’s drug of choice was the martini. #27, prof pan: do u know rick and the maps crew? if so, tell him and allen we miss them down here in s.w. fla. ! to dr. hofmann: thank u so much for all the good times and some of the most profound learning experiences of my life! rest in peace, blessed one…

  24. If there’s anyone likely to find the transition to the higher barda familiar, it is Hofmann. ‘Til we meet again, good doctor.

  25. In a lattice-of-coincidence thingie, I am currently reading a social history of Mr. Hofmann’s wondrous molecule, “Acid Dreams” by Martin A. Lee and Bruce Shlain. I would recommend it. Thanks, Al!

  26. @#40 posted by ustaath

    that explanation makes sense, and i respect your decision not to be forthcoming with such private details.

    i just think it’s snarky to say such things as ‘nobody really cares whether you believe it or not’ when the very nature of information these days requires constant questioning of its legitimacy, especially if it’s presented as truth. isn’t it figures like Hofmann who teach us to ask questions and not trust murmurs?

  27. Thanks you Mr. Hoffman for allowing me to completely understand the chaos theory and it’s patterns in Nature.

    Thanks for opening my mind to things that I would not have perceived.

    Thanks for all of the good times and fun sugarcubes!

  28. great dreams, albert hofmann…acid dreams for us…

    “I believe that if people would learn to use LSD’s vision-inducing capability more wisely, under suitable conditions, in medical practice and in conjunction with meditation, then in the future this problem child could become a wonderchild.” – albert hofman “LSD, my problem child”

  29. Why not get the facts straight first BEFORE posting instead of rushing out news & then dropping several hastily written corrections on top of it?

  30. Playboy 1994 interview with Bill Gates:

    PLAYBOY: Ever take LSD?

    GATES: My errant youth ended a long time ago.

    PLAYBOY: What does that mean?

    GATES: That means there were things I did under the age of 25 that I ended up not doing subsequently.

    PLAYBOY: One LSD story involved you staring at a table and thinking the corner was going to plunge into your eye.

    GATES: [Smiles]

    PLAYBOY: Ah, a glimmer of recognition.

    GATES: That was on the other side of that boundary. The young mind can deal with certain kinds of gooping around that I don’t think at this age I could. I don’t think you’re as capable of handling lack of sleep or whatever challenges you throw at your body as you get older. However, I never missed a day of work.

  31. Why not wait for the newspaper to be delivered fresh to your doorstep tomorrow morning? Yesterday’s news: all pre-packaged and correct-like.

  32. Albert Hofmann has changed most of our lives indirectly (the influence of LSD-25 on all aspects of modern culture is a subject too dense for this quickie comment) and some of our lives indescribably, for better and worse. In my case- both. I am currently on probation for possession of LSD-25. That said, were it not for the influence of that wonderful substance, I might very well have killed myself. I was unhappy, I hated myself and my family, I mistreated my significant other and friends. A handful of doses later and everything has fallen into place- I appreciate every aspect of my life and look forward to each and every day. I might not be able to dose anymore, but I don’t need to. LSD was the glimpse of heaven and has reaffirmed my belief in “heaven” “the force” “God” “Buddha” “Jimi Hendrix” or whatever you want to call him/her/it. I can’t wait for the day I can embark on the ultimate trip myself, looking back on a life well spent and forward to a ride on Hofmann’s handlebars through the cosmos that birthed his stunning intellect (same goes for Einstein, Terence McKenna, Bill Hicks).

  33. @MHotel

    David Pescovitz said.
    We received the information of his death from what we thought was a reliable source. I am waiting to hear back from people who know Dr. Hofmann personally.

    He said that before your first post. That doesn’t sound like “reddit and wikipedia” and it does sound like he had a source. That might be why you’re getting friction for your comment.

    Usually I enjoy your posts – I guess that was just the exception that proves the rule.

  34. Another great has been taken from us.

    ’tis a sad day indeed. I think I am going to go out and smell the sound of cars honking for a while. Then go and taste green for a bit.

  35. In 2006, I attended the Spirit of Basel conference on psychedelics in Basel, Switzerland. Albert Hofmann spoke and even at 100, his mind was still very fit. After seeing the amount of optimism and curiosity there, I founded an event at home in New York City dedicated to the subject.

    It is an annual conference and art exhibition called Horizons: Contemporary perspectives on psychedelics. It explores the role of psychedelics in culture, medicine, science, creativity, spirituality and history.

    Its 2008 dates are September 19-21. It is held at Judson Memorial Church on the south side of Washington Square Park.

    Learn more at

  36. 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

Comments are closed.