FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | November 22, 2011

Turkey talk: Two American Chemical Society videos digest Thanksgiving myth and fact

WASHINGTON, Nov. 22, 2011 — Does tryptophan in turkey really cause the bleary-eyed daze after a Thanksgiving meal? What’s inside those pop-up timers that announce the turkey is ready for the table? How can those timers pop up when the turkey reaches exactly the right internal temperature?

For answers to those and other questions that could spark lively dinnertime conversation Thursday, check out two high-definition Bytesize Science videos that the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society, is offering as an addition to the holiday menu. They are available at

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The first video debunks the long-held holiday myth that a compound in turkey known as tryptophan makes people especially drowsy after a Thanksgiving meal. The second focuses on a part of the Thanksgiving tradition that the pilgrims couldn’t even dream of at that first feast in 1621: The workings of pop-up turkey timers. Both feature Diane Bunce, Ph.D., professor of chemistry at The Catholic University of America and recipient of the ACS Helen Free Award for Public Outreach.

Viewed thousands of times each month, the newly re-launched Bytesize Science series uncovers the chemistry in everyday life. Subscribe to Bytesize Science on YouTube for new videos featuring hands-on demos of scientific phenomena, cutting-edge research found in ACS' 43 peer-reviewed journals and Chemical & Engineering News, interviews with scientific leaders and episodes highlighting the chemistry behind popular foods, products and discoveries that improve people’s lives around the world.

For more entertaining, informative science videos and podcasts from the ACS Office of Public Affairs, view Prized Science, Spellbound, Science Elements, and Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions.

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New American Chemical Society videos highlight
the chemistry behind Thanksgiving.