Dr. Richard Alpert (born April 6, 1931), later known as Baba Ram Dass, was a professor of psychology at Harvard University who became well known for his controversial research program which studied the effects of psilocybin on human subjects…
Alpert worked closely with Dr. Timothy Leary at Harvard, where the two conducted experiments on the effects of psilocybin on human subjects. The pair were dismissed from the university in 1963. Leary was dismissed for not showing up to his classes, Alpert for giving psilocybin to an undergraduate in an off-campus apartment. They relocated, and continued their experiments at a private mansion in Millbrook, New York.
In 1967, Alpert travelled to India, where he became heavily involved in meditative practice and yoga. He met and studied with the great American spiritual seeker Bhagavan Das, who introduced Alpert to his guru, Neem Karoli Baba, or Maharaj-ji, hindi for "Great King." Maharaj-ji gave Alpert the name Ram Dass, which means servant of Rama, and instructed him to receive teaching from Bhagavan Das.
After his return to the United States in 1969, Alpert founded several organizations dedicated to expanding spiritual awareness and promoting spiritual growth. Since a 1994 interview with Gay Soul, he has been open about his bisexuality. In February 1997, he suffered a stroke which left him with expressive aphasia, but he continues to give lectures at a variety of places.