From TikTok to TV: FSW professor Chemical Kim to appear on CBS show Saturday
Kim Hilton doesn't have to dance with any stars.
She doesn't need to hit a high C for "The Voice."
Hilton, aka "Chemical Kim" to her nearly 1 million followers on TikTok, will be on national television at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 16, because she's proven you can make plastic from potatoes.
The Florida SouthWestern State College chemistry professor, who teaches at its Naples campus, will demonstrate the making of bioplastics for a segment of the STEM-themed children's program, "Mission Unstoppable," on CBS-TV (locally WINK TV). Bioplastics dissolve in a radically shorter time period — 180 days rather than 500 years — and may prove an answer to the growing accumulation of other plastics in Earth's oceans.
On the episode, Kim and her lab assistant, her daughter, Maria, demonstrate how to make colorful bioplastic from potatoes — or cassava root or any other starch the viewers may have at home. The experiment, which Kim warns should have adult supervision, creates a gooey blue substance that dries into plastic.
These bioplastics, she points out, can help eliminate the dangerous amounts of plastics. An estimated 8 million-plus tons of plastic are dumped into oceans every year and endanger sea life.
"Mission Unstoppable" features cutting-edge female science, tech, engineering and math professionals to inspire young girls to consider STEM careers.
It's hosted by former "iCarly" TV star Miranda Cosgrove (also "iCarly Revival," "Despicable Me"); executive producers are Cosgrove and actress Geena Davis. It is part of CBS’s "Dream Team Educational/Informational" programming.
That is one of Chemical Kim's states goals — to bring science to those have not traditionally identified with it.
"If you look at the scientists we have in science texts, a lot of them look like they’re European descent, and definitely more in the male population. That doesn’t mean men from one area of the world grew science," she explained in a recent Naples Daily News interview.
Harriet Howard Heithaus covers arts and entertainment for the Naples Daily News/naplesnews.com. Reach her at 239-213-6091.
"Mission Unstoppable": 10 a.m. on WINK-TV Saturday, Oct. 16.
TikTok: Accessed by typing Chemical Kim into various search engines or the app
Naples Daily News feature: 'Chemical Kim, East Naples' TikTok teacher, wants to rescue science from the clutches of boring'