“He inhaled a bit more and eventually found himself in this disembodied universe composed of thoughts and ideas, and he came back absolutely fascinated.”
That’s how historian Mike Jay described 19th-century scientist and fellow “psychonaut” Humphry Davy’s first experience with nitrous oxide in an interview for our issue 50 feature “Why Scientists Need to Get High.” Davy was an early pioneer, but since his time several scientists have walked the same path of self-experimentation—and self-exploration—using psychoactive drugs.
While psychedelics can certainly help scientists step outside themselves to see things from a new perspective, there’s a more storied (and legal) way scientists can gain a new perspective—experiencing, appreciating, and creating art.
Also in Issue 50:
The Longevity Skeptic – This biochemist calls BS on extending human lifespan. Is he right?
A Conversation with Animal Rights Pioneer Peter Singer – “Animal liberation” is nearly 50 years old. What have we learned?
The Perilous Life of the Solitary Pangolin – Poached to the edge of extinction, the bashful animals are getting by with a little help from their friends in Africa.