Albert Hofmann grew up as the eldest of four siblings. When his father, a toolmaker, became seriously ill, he had to contribute to the family’s upkeep and therefore completed a commercial apprenticeship. Meanwhile, he was preparing for his Matura. His godfather financed his studies. Hofmann began his chemistry studies at the University of Zurich in 1925 and received his doctorate with honors in 1929 from Paul Karrer on the subject of the enzymatic degradation of chitin and chitosan I. He was also a member of the scientific staff of Sandoz in Basel.
He then worked for Sandoz in Basel for more than four decades until his retirement in 1971. In 1935 he married Anita Guanella, the sister of the successful Swiss inventor Gustav Guanella, who, like Hofmann’s father, worked for Brown, Boveri & Cie. where Albert Hofmann had also completed a commercial apprenticeship. In 1943 he discovered the hallucinogenic effects of LSD. He lived on the Rittimatte, in the village of Burg on the edge of the Jura. A close friendship existed with Ernst Jünger (see about:
Visit to Godenholm
). On the occasion of his 100th birthday On the occasion of its 50th birthday, the symposium “LSD – Problem Child and Wonder Drug” took place in Basel from 13 to 15 January 2006. At the end of 2007, the psychotherapist Peter Gasser from Solothurn received permission from the Aargau ethics committee to use LSD for therapeutic purposes on an experimental basis, which Albert Hofmann described in a television interview as the fulfilment of his dream. Albert Hofmann died as a result of a heart attack.
Ergot (Latin Secale cornutum) is an elongated, grain-like and up to four (to six) centimetres long permanent form(sclerotium) of the ergot fungus (Claviceps purpurea), a species of tubular fungus that can grow out of the ears of grain. Ergot infestation of the flowers of food and feed grains is a problem for humans and animals because the more than 80 alkaloids and pigments contained in this fungus are highly toxic. In small doses, ergot can also act as a remedy.
Food grains that are particularly frequently affected are rye, but also triticale, wheat, barley, oats and spelt, which are used as animal feed. Over 400 grasses in total are at risk of infestation;
including the salt marsh grass(Spartina anglica) found on the North Sea coast.