A kind of who's who of psychedelia descended on Basil, Switzerland to celebrate the 100th brithday of the Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman, the man who discovered LSD in 1938. The 2,000 researchers, scientists, artists and historians gathered over the weekend to celebrate and pay tribute to a man -- and by extension a substance -- who drastically changed their lives. And to hear them tell it at the conference "LSD: Problem Child and Wonder Drug, an International Symposium on the Occasion of the 100th Birthday of Albert Hofmann," it's all for the better. Illegal since the '60s when Timothy Leary popularized it among the hippies, it's still frowned upon today and almost impossible to get. "LSD wanted to tell me something," Hofmann told the gathering. "It gave me an inner joy, an open mindedness, a gratefulness, open eyes and an internal sensitivity for the miracles of creation." As speakers recounted their experiences and cited names of those whose insights under the influence have led to significant discoveries -- like Francis Crick and Steve Jobs -- Hoffman hoped that one day people will be able to work with the substance again and be able to use the powerful compound in responsible, therapeutic ways.
Photo of Hoffman beside artwork by Alex Grey
interview with Hoffman