People do not tend to think of brilliant scientists and inventors as drug users, but they would be mistaken. It is a common trend among intellectual minds to be experimental with substances. This has been a noted pattern through out history. This blog does not take a stance on whether it is right or wrong to use mind-altering substances, but merely points out that it has been an observable behavior in more than one of our greatest minds.
A number of inventors and engineers, including Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Thomas Edison were known to experiment with mind-altering substances. Steve Jobs even went as far as to say that his use of acid was responsible for the thought patterns that lead to some of his most celebrated Apple creations.
The geniuses of the medical sciences are also known to have had their share of drug experimentation. Medical scientists such as Francis Crick, Kary Mullis and William Stewart Halsted all had points during their lives when they dabbled in drug use. Francis Crick confirmed that he was on acid when he made important discoveries concerning the nature of DNA.
And lastly, a number of notable physicists and biologists, some of the most far reaching of the scientific minds, admitted to drug use at some point in their professions. Scientists such as Carl Sagan, Richard Feynman and Stephen Jay Gould are included in this list. Physicist Carl Sagan openly defends marijuana use and chastises governments who restrict the public’s access to it.
In all of these instances, the common denominator would seem to be that a high-functioning scientific mind, which is naturally linear and mechanical in nature, has a taste for, and even a dependence on, experimentation. Whether or not this experimentation is necessary for the progression of brilliance or is just an indulgence of a quirk is unclear.