LSD Inventor's Archive Is Being Ignored

This isn't what Albert Hofmann had in mind
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 19, 2015 5:42 AM CDT
Albert Hofmann, discoverer of the mind-altering drug LSD and former head of the research department of Swiss chemical company Sandoz, is seen at his home in Burg, Switzerland.   (AP Photo/Keystone, Reto Gisin)
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(Newser) – The man who invented LSD hoped his archive would inspire future generations of researchers, but just about the only person using it is a Swiss dairy farmer who's writing about hallucinogens in his spare time, the Wall Street Journal reports in a look at the "long, strange trip" of Albert Hofmann's papers. In the years before the famous chemist died at the age of 102, the archive spent years with the now-defunct Albert Hofmann Foundation in California. After his death, it was returned to Switzerland, where his family couldn't find funding to have it placed in a new research center and were alarmed by some of the LSD enthusiasts who had started making pilgrimages to his home, the Journal reports.

The archive has ended up at the Institute of Medical History in Bern, where local farmer Beat Bäche has become both curator and user. He says only one other scholar has arrived since the collection came to Bern in 2013. Hofmann's friends and family say they hope that when Bäche finishes reorganizing the archive next year, it will get some publicity—though the drug company Hofmann worked for doesn't plan to get involved. Hofmann's 100th birthday celebration in 2006 "seemed to be the closing event, LSD-wise, for Novartis," Hofmann's grandson, chemistry professor Simon Duttwyler, tells the Journal. "They don't want to be mentioned together with hippies." (Last year, the FDA allowed the first study involving LSD in therapy since 1966)

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