Talk:Alexander Shulgin

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Good articleAlexander Shulgin has been listed as one of the Natural sciences good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
Article milestones
July 31, 2007Good article nomineeListed

DEA raid[edit]

For the sake of completeness, it would be good if this article mentioned the 1994 DEA raid on Shulgin's laboratory Moe Aboulkheir 15:06, 2 February 2006 (UTC)[reply]

I agree. Also a mention or brief explanation of the type of DEA license he possessed which allowed him to carry out his quasi-clandestine syntheses would be good too. Morphine 18:27, 16 February 2006 (UTC)[reply]
Okay. now it does. --Heah talk 05:22, 17 February 2006 (UTC)[reply]


Zectran, the first biodegradable pesticide according to this article, isn't even a proper stub. Could we either get rid of the link or get someone to explain what Zectran is? (I for one am quite interested.) SubcomOvashins (talk) 00:27, 17 December 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Chronological errors[edit]

  1. a (prose): b (MoS):
  2. It is factually accurate and verifiable.
    a (references): b (citations to reliable sources): c (OR):
  3. It is broad in its coverage.
    a (major aspects): b (focused):
  4. It follows the neutral point of view policy.
    a (fair representation): b (all significant views):
  5. It is stable.
  6. It contains images, where possible, to illustrate the topic.
    a (tagged and captioned): b lack of images (does not in itself exclude GA): c (non-free images have fair use rationales):
  7. Overall:
    a Pass/Fail:

I have passed this article, as I feel it meets the GA criteria. I think it's overall very well-written (with a few minor issues that were easier to fix myself), reasonably complete (covers the major & significant topics), and accurate. The material probably needs a few more references before being considered for WP:FA status, since everything is cited by only four citations. But the overall references meet the standards of reliability. I do have a minor concern regarding the use of the reference, since that site seems to be more concerned with the illegal use of drugs than an actual scientific or valid media site (it's bordering on a blog, IMHO). But Google is unable to does not come up with any other references for the drug raid, and I won't let my personal thoughts get in the way of the GA review. It is questionable, however, whether this would stand up to the scrutiny of the FA nomination process.

Anyway, overall good job! Keep it up! Dr. Cash 00:06, 10 August 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Fair use rationale for Image:Shulgin.jpg[edit]

Image:Shulgin.jpg is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.

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BetacommandBot (talk) 07:37, 21 January 2008 (UTC)[reply]

Notable publications[edit]

This section is hard too read. No links to the fulltexts. It would be better to write what he was working on and then add the reference for the article. Any other ideas? -- Panoramix303 (talk) 14:58, 27 May 2008 (UTC)[reply]

Anyway I could talk someone into updating this to reflect on his recent heart surgery?

The heart surgery link should be deleted, because the site has been deactivated as of June 16, 2008. --Jeffreybenner (talk) 02:02, 17 June 2008 (UTC)[reply]

Bohemian Club membership[edit]

I seem to remember some information about Shulgin being a member of the San Fransisco Bohemian Club and having attended the Bohemian Grove summer camps. I cannot find any traces of this now though. I also seem to remember some discussion which I thought must have taken place here, but obviously didn't, about his membership in the "Owl Club" which he talks about in PiHKAL being pseudonymous for the the Bohemian Club. Can somebody help me out here? __meco (talk) 09:49, 17 July 2009 (UTC)[reply]

The Owl's club in the book is clearly the Bohemian club. He's not listed at List of Bohemian Club members but probably should be. Sorry I can't be of more help. beefman (talk) 01:40, 14 February 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Alexander T. Shulgin[edit]

In some sources Alexander Shulgin is referenced with a "T." as a 2nd name. Even the German WP lists him with a "T.". Does anyone know what it stands for or is this made up? -- (talk) 21:59, 20 February 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Following russian customs, he was given his father's name: Theodore.-- (talk) 23:55, 3 March 2011 (UTC)[reply] as a reliable source[edit]

I see this being cited a few times in the lead. Is that considered a reliable source? I also removed some material about the father that seemed a bit to detailed for this bio, maybe just add back in that both parents were from Russsia, or whatever you call it at the time ect. Thanks, --Threeafterthree (talk) 16:31, 31 December 2010 (UTC)[reply]

he took tryptamines, oh and also he has a defective aortic valve and had 2 strokes. Why is this in one paragraph together????[edit]

In recent years, Shulgin has worked on a series of N-allylated tryptamines including 5-MeO-DALT and 5-MeO-MALT.[8] On April 8, 2008, at the age of 82, he underwent surgery to replace a defective aortic valve.[9] On November 16, 2010, Dr. Shulgin suffered a stroke. He is expected to fully recover.[10] In December of 2010 he suffered another stroke, followed by skin-grafting surgery to save his left foot from an amputation. [edit] — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:00, 6 August 2011 (UTC)[reply]

I agree. After just reading this article for the first time ever I felt as though the author was trying to imply his tryptamine usage led to his heart problems. (talk) 03:02, 5 December 2011 (UTC)[reply]
Fixed. The bizarre implied association between his research and his heart condition has been definitively removed, but the current division of the article into "Life and career" and "Independent research" sections leaves a discontiguous and confusing chronology. More reorganisation is in order. ~~ Lothar von Richthofen (talk)

fix the picture[edit]

the picture on this page is messed up — Preceding unsigned comment added by Tribis (talkcontribs) 01:35, 11 September 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Various issues with the "life and career" section[edit]

I'm gonna go ahead and trim the second paragraph because, frankly, it looks like the author was high as a kite when he or she wrote it. I say this not as an insult, but as a critique of style. Right now the writing is flowery enough that it glorifies the subject, distracting from what should be a measured and non-biased account. The information presented seems to be alternately unverifiable (the mention of morphine) or embellished. Encyclopedic articles should adhere to a more-technical presentation, I think; so I'll get to work. (talk) 14:37, 19 July 2013 (UTC) Sball004 (talk) 16:36, 19 July 2013 (UTC)[reply]


Yesterday I undertook some cleanup & rewriting of parts of the article. There was one section, however, that I decided not to touch, even though it is badly in need of work. In the Bibliography section, after the list of books, there is a subsection called "Other notable publications", which is a very extensive listing of articles that Shulgin published in a variety of journals. This list is far too long -- much, much longer than the norm for Wikipedia -- and needs to be pruned back to the most essential articles. If I had the requisite knowledge I would, of course, do it myself; since I don't, it would only be guesswork on my part. It needs to be done by an editor who has some knowledge of the literature in question and is thus in a position to make choices as to which articles are indeed essential, and which can be removed from the list. Anomalous+0 (talk) 16:53, 6 June 2014 (UTC)[reply]

No Neutrality[edit]

"Showing unusual humility in his famous book PIHKAL, Shulgin limits his pesticide days at Dow Chemical to one sentence in 978 pages." Really? He was very humble indeed! Oh my God, we lost such a great human being... Am I the only one who thinks this is improper for an encyclopedia such as Wikipedia? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:02, 16 June 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Removed. Sasata (talk) 00:10, 16 June 2014 (UTC)[reply]

LSD has an indole ring, but it's not a proper tryptamine[edit]

He personally tested hundreds of drugs, mainly analogues of various phenethylamines (family containing MDMA, mescaline, and the 2C* family), and tryptamines (family containing DMT, psilocin, and LSD).

. (talk) 03:23, 18 June 2014 (UTC)[reply]


Seriously? This is a legitimate news outlet? Um, no it's not. While there is some interesting content there (even a broken clock is right twice a day), the site is written and maintained by a bunch of drug-addicted loons whose only purpose is to legitimatize their "habits". This site DOES NOT meet WP:RS specifications and should not be used as a source on Shulgin's death (or anywhere else on wikipedia). Lay off the crack, dudes! (talk) 02:42, 24 June 2014 (UTC)[reply]

I think you need to expand on your assertion that Erowid is not a reliable source. I tend to agree with you, but just saying that it doesn't meet RS specs doesn't really cut it. See also this discussion on my Talk page of that specific paragraph. I personally believe that the editor who challenged me did, in fact, have a personal interest in promoting Erowid, but the statement made was factual and with the addition of a more mainstream source (which the challenger had reverted, and was reverted), I decided to leave it alone. Dwpaul Talk 15:27, 24 June 2014 (UTC)[reply]

External links modified[edit]

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Legacy section tone[edit]

The legacy section appears to have an anti-shulgin tone. In particular then word "devestating" at the end of the first paragraph is a cited quote but only that word is quoted to give the impression that his legacy is creating works that caused devestation. The DEA certainly made that claim, and it's likely party of his legacy, but overall the story here is he's a guy that published books that popularized drugs by publishing scientific works about the drugs. Those drugs are popular, and the science is still going.

From where I stand he's known for advocating for the responsible use of psychedelics, but the legacy section is apparently designed to call that into question. The quote about a martini send designed to undermine the first quote where Shulgin was advocating for the power of mescaline. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:06, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

I agree with this. There are many reputable psychedelic researchers, such as the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, who owe their research to the work done by Shulgin. Given the intense criticism of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and their history around overstating the physical and social damage of various drugs, Shulgin's section needs to be modified to reflect a more neutral viewpoint. EishethIntegra (talk) 23:37, 14 June 2021 (UTC)[reply]
 Done I've corrected the text, which misrepresented what the given source actually says, to wit:

Interest in mescaline, and, in general, in hallucinogenic compounds, peaked in the Ffties, in the wake of the publication of The Doors of Perception, an assay where the polymath Aldous Huxley described his experience with this compound. While various artists and writers, including Sartre, experimented with mescaline at that time, by far the most far-reaching effects associated to this cultural climate and to the secularization of mescaline are those related to Alexander Shulgin. Afgter experiencing with mescaline, Shulgin, a Berkeley graduate, developed an active interest in mind-altering drugs and the systematic study of their effect in humans. Shulgin claimed that mescaline made him aware of the existence of a world buried in our spirit, whose “availability” was “catalyzed” by chemicals. The consequences of these insights were devastating. As an employee of Dow Chemicals, Shulgin developed the successful carbamate mexacarbate (Zectran, 36), the first biodegradable pesticide, and, as a token of gratitude, he was allowed to freely pursue his research interests.

I would write more in the article about his legacy, with reliable sources, of course, if I had the time now, perhaps later.
P.S. Thanks for pointing this out. Carlstak (talk) 02:00, 15 June 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I have nothing new to add here, but I strongly agree that the tone of the section as previously written was inappropriately condemnatory.
My sincere thanks to @Carlstak: your thoughtful, constructive work here has significantly improved this article. Foxmilder (talk) 07:12, 16 August 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks, Foxmilder, appreciated. Shulgin is one of my heroes. Carlstak (talk) 11:50, 16 August 2023 (UTC)[reply]

He is not The Godfather of MDMA, nor the first to synthesize it[edit]

Saying so is disinformation IMO. He is wrongly credited for and always disliked his representation as such. Can we finally set the record’s straight it was first synthesized in 1912 Germany called “Methylsafrylaminc” & it was intended as a parent compound to synthesize medications that control bleeding, not to control appetite as is often incorrectly cited. (Source 1 using sources 2 & 3 as more support)

(1) NIDA. What is the history of MDMA?. National Institute on Drug Abuse website. April 13, 2021 Accessed July 2, 2022.

1) Bernschneider-Reif S, Oxler F, Freudenmann RW. The origin of MDMA (“ecstasy”)--separating the facts from the myth. Pharm. 2006;61(11):966-972.

2) Freudenmann RW, Oxler F, Bernschneider-Reif S. The origin of MDMA (ecstasy) revisited: the true story reconstructed from the original documents. Addict Abingdon Engl. 2006;101(9):1241-1245. doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2006.01511.x. (talk) 14:55, 2 July 2022 (UTC)[reply]

The article has 6 mentions of MDMA—none of them says he was "The Godfather of MDMA" or "the first to synthesize it". The article says he was "Known for *Rediscovering* MDMA, and that "He is credited with introducing... MDMA, commonly known as "ecstasy" to psychologists in the late 1970s for psychopharmaceutical use". It also says, "MDMA had been synthesized in 1912 by Merck and patented in 1913 as an intermediate of another synthesis in order to block competitors, but was never explored in its own right. Shulgin went on to develop a new synthesis method, and in 1976, introduced the chemical to Leo Zeff, a psychologist from Oakland, California."
If you want to expand the information in the article, both the Freudenmann, Oxler, Bernschneider-Reif papers, one of which is a review, look good as sources, and I think the "What is the history of MDMA?" research report would be okay since it refers to the history, rather than biomedical features of MDMA. You are welcome to add sourced content to the article. Carlstak (talk) 04:40, 3 July 2022 (UTC)[reply]