Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


Psychonauts: Drugs and the Making of the Modern Mind

30 November 2023, 6:15 pm–7:30 pm

Book cover of Pyschonauts

UCL Health Humanities Centre is pleased to welcome Mike Jay to discuss his recent book, a provocative and original history of the scientists and writers, artists and philosophers who took drugs to explore the hidden regions of the mind.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to

All | UCL staff | UCL students






Institute of Advanced Studies


IAS Common Ground
G11, ground floor, South Wing
UCL, Gower Street, London
United Kingdom

Drawing on his recent book Psychonauts: Drugs and the Making of the Modern Mind (Yale University Press, 2023), Mike Jay will narrate the history of self-experiment with mind-altering drugs in the pharmacology and the mind sciences.

By the late nineteenth century the practice was widespread among those studying altered mental states and the subsconscious, including Sigmund Freud and William James. It was subsequently marginalised by the decline of introspective psychology and the stigmatisation of drug use, but re-emerged in the postwar era with the discovery of psychedelics.

Please register to attend at: https://ias-psychonauts.eventbrite.co.uk

UCL Health Humanities Centre draws together staff from different disciplines, departments and faculties engaged in teaching and research on matters relating to health, illness and well-being. The centre is based at UCL Institute of Advanced Studies.

About the Speaker

Mike Jay

Author and cultural historian

Mike Jay has written extensively on scientific and medical history and contributes regularly to the London Review of Books and the Wall Street Journal. His previous books on the history of drugs include Mescaline, High Society, and The Atmosphere of Heaven.

More about Mike Jay