Listen Up, Pilgrims: Tryptophan Is Not What's Making You Sleepy

Listen Up, Pilgrims: Tryptophan Is Not What's Making You Sleepy 1

Matt Dilyard

Forrest Etheridge (left), a senior at the College of Wooster, and Judith Amburgey-Peters, an associate professor of chemistry, prod a drumstick in search of Thanksgiving's chemical secrets.

It's Thanksgiving Day, and the conversation among your dinner guests—an eclectic mix of B-list relatives, single friends and co-workers, and your favorite international students—veers dangerously close to the toxic topics of religion and politics.

Fortunately, we've asked Judith Amburgey-Peters to prime you with some suitable table talk that leads straight to the plate without descending into a dull recitation of recipes. Ms. Amburgey-Peters teaches organic chemistry at