February 24, 2009

I knew what I wanted to do

I was working for Dow Chemical Company at the time as a research chemist. I had the good fortune of having seen that they were working on an interesting compound. The person in whose lab I was working at Dow had found a very easy way of making an almost unknown compound. They said, “We’d like to find some use for this,” and I said, “Gee, if you added a methyl group on this side instead of on this side, as well as on this side, and put an amine down there and make the carbamate, you’d probably have an insecticide.” “Oh?” So they put the methyl group over here, and put an amine down here—a dimethylamine— and a carbamate, and it became a commercial insecticide. And the attitude there was, “Gee, if you can predict things like that, you can just go do whatever you want to do!” That was about the time I had first tried mescaline, and I knew what I wanted to do.
Sasha Shulgin, interviewed with Anna by Earth & Fire Erowid at Mind States 2007, two parts in one pdf here

UPDATE: Sasha giving a talk in Amsterdam, 1998, with the title How I go about inventing new drugs, with thanks to Lorenzo at the Psychedelic Salon, which has a great archive of related podcasts.

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