Timothy Francis Leary (October 22, 1920 – May 31, 1996) was an influential American psychologist and writer known in later life for advocating research into psychedelic drugs. A hugely controversial figure during the 1960s and 1970s, he encouraged the use of the drug LSD for its therapeutic, emotional and spiritual benefits, and coined the saying "Turn on, tune in, drop out", both of which proved to be hugely influential on the 1960s counterculture. Largely due to his influence in this field, he was attacked by conservative figures in the United States, and described as "the most dangerous man in America" by President Richard Nixon.
Leary was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, the only child of an Irish American dentist who abandoned his wife Abigail Ferris and the rest of the family when Leary was thirteen. Leary graduated from Springfield's Classical High School.
In 1940, Leary enrolled as a cadet in the United States Military Academy at West Point. After violating the Academy’s honor code for allegedly drinking whiskey and lying about it, Leary was informally punished by being ‘silenced’, whereby he was shunned and ignored by his co-cadets as a tactic to pressure him to resign. The alleged incident was dismissed by the official court-martial, however the 'silencing' continued. After nine months, Leary was asked to resign by the honor committee, which he accepted. Almost fifty years later, Leary would remark that it was “the only fair trial I’ve had in a court of law”.