Any dreadlocked white guys finding this article after Googling "Drugs Rule" should know that we've given this list about drugs a rule. To make the cut, an accomplishment has to be considered great by people who could pass a field sobriety test. So no Grateful Dead music. We're sure someone somewhere has enjoyed the Dead perfectly sober, just as there are probably non-Christians who listen to Christian Rock. But we're just as sure that in the grand scheme of things, those people don't count.
In fact, because we're masochists, we gave ourselves a strict no music policy, leaving us with ... well, not a whole lot actually. Turns out most great things were accomplished by people who just said no, at least immediately prior to accomplishing them. Except for these five.
5Francis Crick Discovers DNA Thanks to LSD
For the few Cracked readers not versed in the history of human genetics, Francis Crick is the closest that field gets to a rock star, which is pretty fucking close as it turns out. In 1953 in Cambridge, Crick burst through the front door of his home spouting what his wife Odile originally thought was crazy jibberish about two spirals twisting in opposite directions from one another. Like all great rock star's wives, Odile was an artist, and drew exactly what her husband described. Then the pair and research partner James Watson all went out to a pub and got drunk.
Odile had no idea what they were celebrating. "Francis was always saying things like that." If so she probably should have drawn every word because those twisty spirals went on to become one of the most reproduced drawing in the history of science, a first draft of the double helix structure of DNA that scientists today still describe as "balls on."
LSD. Yes, when not discovering the key to life, and winning the Nobel Prize for it, Crick spent the 50s and 60s throwing all night parties famous for featuring that era's favorite party favors: LSD and nudity. Crick never made it a secret that he experimented with the drug, and in 2006, the London paper The Mail on Sunday reported that Crick had told many colleagues that he was experimenting with LSD when he figured out the double helix structure.
Drugs? This guy? No way.
Why It Makes Sense:
The double helix is essentially the Sgt. Peppers of scientific models, a ladder that's been melted and twirled by a pasta fork, or the two snakes from the caduceus if one of them was fucking the other with 100 dicks (depending on whether the artist ate the good or bad acid).
Now obviously scientists don't arrive at models by doodling on their trapper keeper and picking out the shape that looks the coolest. To do what Crick did required an insane amount of analytical, theoretical, and spatial thinking. It's not like Crick dropped out of high school and then used acid to turn himself into a supergenius.
Crick was a fan of Aldous Huxley's The Doors of Perception, a study of the human mind which was undertaken like all good studies, while driving around LA on mescaline.
Huxley wrote that the sober mind has a series of filters on it that basically prevent abstract thought (evolution put them there for the sake of survival, since having daydreams about the nature of the universe while driving can cause you to plow into a semi). But Huxley and Crick thought drugs like mescaline and LSD could temporarily remove those filters.
So rather than melting his mind into a lava lamp of trippy shapes, Crick probably used LSD to get unfiltered access to a part of his brain most normal people rarely use.
"It's so fucking beautiful."
Before You Go Trying It...
The long term effects of acid aren't so great. While Crick never officially rocked a tinfoil hat, he was known to argue that life was seeded on Earth by a race of prehistoric aliens, a theory that has yet to gain widespread acceptance among the scientific community, or really anyone who isn't a character on the X Files or L Ron Hubbard.