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A Letter to the Community in Regard to 4/20

Friday, April 20th, 2012

Thinking those crazy thoughts

Dear Skidmore,

I hear you like smoking weed sometimes. You know, 4/20? Here’s the thing, though. It’s all about 4/19.

On April 19th, 1943, Dr. Albert Hofmann of Switzerland became the first person to ingest Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD, commonly known as ‘acid’). He had accidentally discovered the chemical in 1938 while researching the pharmaceutical properties of a fungus but, since he didn’t know LSD was a psychoactive chemical, he set it aside for 5 years.

But Albert’s fungus studies weren’t going that well, and he needed to try something new. So, on 4/19/43, Dr. Hofmann consumed what he believed to be a minimal amount, 250 micrograms of LSD. This was not a minimal amount – the average ‘dose’ these days is about 100 micrograms. Having never been exposed to the psychedelic experience, he was slightly disturbed. But, like a true scientist, Hofmann carried his experiment through to the end. An hour into his trip, Hofmann decided to go on a bicycle ride with his lab assistant. This is why April 19th is celebrated internationally as ‘Bicycle Day’. During his trip, Hofmann noted:

“… little by little I could begin to enjoy the unprecedented colors and plays of shapes that persisted behind my closed eyes. Kaleidoscopic, fantastic images surged in on me, alternating, variegated, opening and then closing themselves in circles and spirals, exploding in colored fountains, rearranging and hybridizing themselves in constant flux …”

So, Skidmore: I know you like to smoke weed sometimes. But maybe it’s time to diversify?

Submitted by Yusef Byrne ’13