Erowid References Database
“How LSD Originated”.
Journal of Psychedelic Drugs. 1979 Jan-Jun;11(1-2):53-60.
“Dans les champs de l'observation be basard ne favorise que les esprits prépares”–Louis Pasteur Time and again it has been said and written that LSD was an accidental discovery. This is only partly correct, because LSD came into being in the course of systematic research, and only later in the flame did the accident occur when LSD was already five years old I experienced its unexpected effects in my own body; more correctly stated, in my own mind. Every discovery has its prehistory that shows in the end all that must happen before the discovery becomes possible. When I look back in my thoughts to trace all the direction-giving events and decisions in my professional carrer that eventually steered my work into this field of research in which I synthesized LSD, I am led back to my choice of employment after I had finished my training in chemistry. Had I at any point chosen otherwise, then this substance, which has become world renowned under the designation LSD, might never have been created. If I wish to relate the story of the origin of LSD, I must therefore also describe briefly my career as a chemist in which the story is inseparably embedded. In the spring of 1929 at the conclusion of my chemical studies at the University of Zurich. I joined the pharmaccuticat-ehemieal research larborator of Sandoz in Basel as a co-worker of Professor Arthur Stoll, founder and director of the pharmaecuticali department. I chose this position because it afforded me the opportunity to work on natural prodders, whereas two other job offers from the chemical industries of Basel had involved work in the field of synthetic chemistry. FIRST CHEMICAL INVESTIGATIONS My doctoral work under Professor Paul Kaiser had already matched my predilection for the chemistry of the plant and animal world. With the aid of the gastrointestinal juice of the vineyard snail, I succeeded in the enzymatic degradation of chitin, the structural material of which the shells, wings and claws of insects, crustaceans and other lower animals are composed. The chemical structure of chitin could he derived from the cleavage product obtained by this degradation, a nitrogen-containing sugar. Chitin turned out to be an analog of cellulose,the structural material of plants. This important result, that required only three months of research, led to a doctoral thesis rated "with distinction." At the time of my entry to the firm, the staff of the pharmaceutical-chemical department was yet rather modest.. Four chemists with doctoral degree worked in research, three in production.
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