Mystic Chemist

Mystic Chemist: The Life of Albert Hofmann and His Discovery of LSD: The authoritative biography on the most famous chemist of the 20th century

By Dieter Hagenbach and Lucius Werthmüller

[Text provided by publisher.] Albert Hofmann, a brilliant chemist and passionate naturalist, had a “strange premonition” that led him to re-synthesize a compound which had previously been shelved for lack of interest. During this process, Hofmann accidentally absorbed a trace amount of the substance through his fingertips and soon realized that its “unknown and very strong properties” warranted further inquiry. Days later, in a self-experiment on April 19th, 1943, the Mystic Chemist ingested 250 micrograms of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD), initiating a “trip” that changed the world.

Hofmann’s legendary bicycle ride that day from the chemistry lab to his home in Basel, Switzerland, revealed the profound psychological effects of LSD. This discovery shook the very foundations of science and culture, and inspired artists, therapists, scientists and philosophers alike to reevaluate how one thinks about perception and consciousness.

Now, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the discovery of LSD, comes forth a compelling and authoritative biography of the man behind the molecule, the father of what Hofmann himself ultimately termed “the Problem Child and Wonder Drug” … Mystic Chemist: The Life of Albert Hofmann and His Discovery of LSD (Synergetic Press, June, 2013). Written by two of his close friends, Dieter Hagenbach and Lucius Werthmüller, the book brings Albert Hofmann to life and the reader deep into his adventure.

Featuring 500 photos, illustrations and drawings, many rare or previously unseen, Mystic Chemist: The Life of Albert Hofmann and His Discovery of LSD takes readers on a journey through the 20th century from Hofmann’s mystical childhood experiences with nature in Switzerland; to his chemistry studies with Nobel Prize winner Paul Karrer in Zurich, through his discoveries of both LSD and psilocybin at the Sandoz Laboratory in Basel. In addition, the authors reveal a thorough and eventful history of LSD’s impact on culture and the ensuing struggles between advocates and opponents, many of which persist today. This invaluable survey covers all the key stages: the revolution in clinical therapy; the youth movement of the sixties; innovations in computer technologies; to the birth of a new science of consciousness and much more. Albert Hofmann was voted “greatest living genius” in 2007 by the Daily Telegraph. He lived an active life to the age of 102.

Today, there is renewed interest in the use of psychedelics in medical research and the DEA has approved a number of clinical trials to study the risks and benefits of psychedelic-assisted therapy in patients suffering from addictions to PTSD and end-of-life anxiety. Spirituality and Health magazine recently featured an article on the “Second Coming of Psychedelics.”

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