April 16, 2015

Today in history: Discovery of LSD (1943)

John RobsonResident Historian

April 16 is the anniversary of the discovery of LSD. Which prompts the sober reflection that sometimes in history, while the character of an era seems to depend on a particular person, idea or thing, that person, idea or thing needed the era to become significant too.

For instance, LSD was "discovered" in 1943 by a Swiss chemist who accidentally ingested a small amount of a substance he'd actually first synthesized in 1938.

But it was basically unknown except to a small group of psychological researchers until it caught the attention of activists like Timothy Leary and Ken Kesey who felt, in the 1960s, that their entire society needed its head examined including from within.

The result? One can hardly imagine "the '60s" without "acid."

But equally, LSD-25 would not have become "acid" without the upheaval of that decade. Historical causation is complex, and clearly sometimes the time and the person, idea or thing must meet for either to become truly extraordinary.

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commented 2015-04-18 14:30:54 -0400
Hey John, I just had an idea. Could you do a series on the history of the Canadian Constitution, from the BNA Act up to our current Constitution? I bet Rebel fans would like to have a better idea of what our Constitutional history is and how we got our current Constitution and Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Could just read Wikipedia, but I’d like your own insights. I’d also like your thoughts on the possibility of amending the Constitution to abolish the current Supreme Court of Canada and replacing it with judges who are elected from qualified lawyers by Canadians in each province.
commented 2015-04-18 14:05:46 -0400
I still can’t believe I get insightful history lessons from John Robson just by going to TheRebel.media. As if the the website wasn’t already top notch.
commented 2015-04-18 06:56:33 -0400
My favourite section of The Rebel.
commented 2015-04-17 14:12:20 -0400
John, as usual, very good piece. I hope you keep it up. Some of this audience could use more of your wit.
commented 2015-04-16 22:45:10 -0400
We still had it in the 80s readily available. Where was I? Oh ya I remember, I thought “this is how life should be if we could just get everyone to do it” Unfortunately it can’t be used on a long term basis or else something maybe I don’t know.
commented 2015-04-16 20:56:10 -0400
James and Mark. You need to watch more of John Robson. His humor is sometimes hard to catch, but he was being sarcastic when he said that the 70s did not have drugs.
commented 2015-04-16 20:38:03 -0400
The 70s were free from drugs??? Marijuana is not a drug? Heroin is not a drug? Those were the two biggies back then… The biggie in the 80s was cocaine, meth in the 90s, ecstasy in the 90s and 2000s…
commented 2015-04-16 20:07:13 -0400
I was there….. I think…. Hell, I don’t remember.
commented 2015-04-16 19:46:54 -0400
Ahhh the memories…
Pink Crystal…
Pink, yellow, Purple Micro-dot’s…
Pink, yellow, Purple DOUBLE Micro-dot’s…
What a GREAT time we had…
I remember once we all headed to the…
What were we talking about again?
How did I get here?…
commented 2015-04-16 18:57:40 -0400
John John John. The 70’s as you mention, were free from drugs. Unfortunately during those years I remember youngsters “flying” out the windows of high buildings. The high. I also remember (inadvertently and accidentally) taking a few hits of the lysergic. The word of the day…flashbacks. Perhaps that what made life so weird in the new millennia.
commented 2015-04-16 17:54:58 -0400
Great video John very interesting and informative looking forward to your next this day in history.
Just for fun here are more things that happened on this day.
American Revolution
1738 General Sir Henry Clinton is born
1946 Arthur Chevrolet commits suicide
Civil War
1863 Union ships pass Vicksburg
Cold War
1947 Bernard Baruch coins the term “Cold War”
2007 Massacre at Virginia Tech leaves 32 dead
1947 Fertilizer explosion kills 581 in Texas
General Interest
1917 Lenin returns 1947 Texas City explodes 1972 Apollo 16 departs for moon
1889 Charlie Chaplin born
1922 Kingsley Amis is born
1977 David Soul, of Starsky & Hutch, has the #1 song on the U.S. pop charts
Old West
1881 Bat Masterson’s last shootout
1789 Washington leaves Mt. Vernon for his inauguration
1940 Bob Feller throws no-hitter
Vietnam War
1968 Johnson arrives in Honolulu 1972 United States resumes bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong
World War I
1917 Lenin returns to Russia from exile
1897 Frederick William Winterbotham, one of Britain’s top code breakers, is born

Here’s hopeing you found something interesting