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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 11 Issue 6 (2006) pp 421-426

LSD: Catalyst for a Pharmacological Revolution

G. Wayne Craig and George B. Kauffman*,

Syngenta AG, Lead Finding, WRO.1060.1.36, Rosental CH-4002, Basel, Switzerland,, Department of Chemistry, California State University, Fresno, Fresno, CA 93740-8034,

Published online: 1 December 2006

Abstract. Albert Hofmann’s discovery of LSD by “chance or by a higher plan” led to a revolution in the pharmaceutical industry, inspiring research to understand how a chemical’s structure is recognized and how this recognition triggers a physiological response. The incredible potency of this drug challenged the conventional lock-and-key model that Emil Fischer had proposed for enzymes. In fact, the astounding physiological properties of LSD may have overshadowed the scientific expertise and outstanding qualities of its discoverer, Albert Hofmann, who celebrated his 100th birthday this year. The first article in this series (pp 413-420) sketches Hofmann’s discovery of LSD, its use as an adjunct to meditation, creativity, and consciousness expansion, and treatment of the mentally ill as well as its abuse as a pleasure drug. The third article (pp 427-436) discusses Hofmann’s life and especially his chemistry and his passion for nature. We are also reviewing a Festschrift commemorating his centenary (pp 451-452).

Key Words: Chemistry and History; biography

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

Article in PDF format (211 KB) HTML format

Issue date: December 1, 2006

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