R. Gordon Wasson (1898-1986) was an international banker, amateur mycologist, and author. He studied at the Columbia School of Journalism and at the London School of Economics. In 1926 Wasson married Valentina Pavlovna Guercken, a pediatrician. On a delayed honeymoon in 1927 in the Catskill Mountains of New York, the Wassons' lifelong gathering of "references to mushrooms and toadstools in the folklore of the world" began.
The Wassons went on to integrate mycological data with data from other fields: history, linguistics, comparative religion, mythology, art, and archaeology, exploring all aspects of mushrooms. They called their field of studies "ethnomycology" and coined the terms "mycophobe" and "mycophile" to separate the peoples of the world. Their investigations led to expeditions in Mexico beginning in 1953 to research the magico-religious use of mushrooms. In 1955, the Wassons became the first outsiders to participate in the Aztec Indians' sacred mushroom rituals. Wasson published an article in Life Magazine on May 13, 1957, which covered the Mexican mushroom sessions entitled Seeking the Magic Mushroom.
Upon retiring in 1963, Gordon Wasson began Far Eastern field investigations relating to his thesis that the Indian soma plant was the mushroom Amanita muscaria (fly-agaric). He was in the Far East almost continuously from May 1963 to February 1966; his travels included New Zealand, New Guinea, Japan, China, India, Korea, Iran, Afghanistan, Thailand, and Nepal. The results of his investigations were published in 1969 in Soma, titled Divine Mushroom of Immortality. This work stirred controversy among Vedic scholars. The term "entheogen," was devised by Wasson and his colleagues to replace the terms "hallucinogenic" or "psychedelic" or "drug" that had been used during the 1960's.
While his work was generally accepted as scientific research, it was met with some controversy.
sources include: www.mnsu.edu, wikipedia.org, and www.huh.harvard.edu/libraries/wasson.html