Stories by Paul Caine

NASA’s Mission to ‘Touch the Sun’ Begins to Unravel Mysteries of Solar Wind

Prior to its August 2018 launch, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe is packed safely inside the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket payload fairing. (Credit: NASA / Bill Ingalls)

An update on the mission and findings of NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, named after pioneering University of Chicago astrophysicist Eugene Parker, who first proposed the existence of the solar wind in 1958.

Charlie Beck Takes Charge Following Eddie Johnson’s Ouster

Charlie Beck held his first press conference as interim police superintendent Tuesday, a day after Eddie Johnson was abruptly fired as top cop. What can the city expect from Beck? And what’s next for a department already laboring under a consent decree?

Local Cosmologist Explores the Very First Moments of Creation

Scientist Dan Hooper appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Nov. 25, 2019. (WTTW News)

Dan Hooper spends his time contemplating the biggest mystery of all: how the universe came to be. He joins us to discuss his book, “At the Edge of Time: Exploring the Mysteries of our Universe’s First Seconds.”

‘Silver, Sword and Stone’: Author Writes Sweeping History of Latin America

Peruvian American journalist Marie Arana talks about her new book, “Silver, Sword, and Stone: Three Crucibles in the Latin American Story.”

Slow Start on Reform at the Chicago Police Department

(WTTW News)

An independent federal monitor tasked with overseeing the reform of the Chicago Police Department says the department is already falling behind on its efforts. Is this a sign of growing pains or the sheer difficulty of changing the police department?

The Story of Chicago’s Rise as a Distinctly Polish American City

Polish Constitution Day Parade in Chicago’s Loop, May 2, 2015. The banner reads, in English, “Two homelands, one heart,” expressing the dual nature of Polonia. (Photograph by Dominic Pacyga)

Local historian Dominic Pacyga tells us about his new book “American Warsaw: The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of Polish Chicago.”

‘Sesame Street’ Child Specialist Writes How-To Book for Parents

(ePhotographyAustralia / Pixabay)

Rosemarie Truglio, the development specialist behind the curriculum of “Sesame Street” is out with a new book for parents to help their children learn.

World’s Largest Starbucks Set to Open Friday in Chicago

A barista prepares a coffee at a media preview of the new Starbucks Reserve Roastery on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019. (WTTW News)

The Reserve Roastery will span five floors and 35,000 square feet on Michigan Avenue, taking up residence in what was for decades Crate & Barrel’s flagship store. We get a preview.

Police Board Prepares Search for Eddie Johnson’s Permanent Replacement

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson announces his retirement during a press conference at police headquarters on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. (WTTW News)

As Chicago’s top cop prepares to retire at the end of the year, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s pick to replace him on an interim basis is already drawing fire. But what about finding Johnson’s long-term replacement? That task falls to the Chicago Police Board.

Tough Challenges Ahead for Chicago’s Next Top Cop

Mayor Lori Lightfoot says she’ll announce her plan to find an interim successor to police Superintendent Eddie Johnson in the coming days. We discuss Johnson’s legacy and the challenges that await the city’s next top cop.

Lightfoot’s Proposed Real Estate Transfer Tax Hike Gets Pushback

(Ken Teegardin / Flickr)

Is the mayor’s plan for a real estate transfer tax hike dead on arrival or could a new so-called win-win compromise supported by some Democratic lawmakers create a path forward?

Driving While Stoned: Police Still Lack Reliable Test

(Pexels / Pixabay)

As the legalization of recreational marijuana approaches, police have no reliable test for whether a person is driving under its influence. What science tells us about marijuana use and safe driving.

In the Zooniverse, Everyone Can Be a Scientist

(picjumbo_com / Pixabay)

In a world in which scientific literacy is often lacking, the online platform Zooniverse.org is doing what it can to encourage “people-powered research.”

Oriental Institute Unveils Multimillion-Dollar Makeover for Centennial

On the South Side of Chicago is a relatively small but academically renowned museum whose founder James Henry Breasted helped rewrite the history of human civilization. We go for a look.

Google Claims to Have Achieved ‘Quantum Supremacy’

(Courtesy Google)

The tech giant says its computer took a problem that a normal supercomputer would take 10,000 years to solve and figured it out in just over three minutes. What might this the brave new world of quantum technology deliver?

Chicago Principals Concerned About Possibility of Long Strike

Two Chicago Public Schools principals talk about the strike from their perspective – and what it will take to pick up the pieces when it eventually ends.

Pressure Mounts on Facebook to Vet Political Content

(StartupStockPhotos / Pixabay)

Should social media companies be responsible for fact-checking content? The debate over free speech on Facebook.

‘Information Wars’ Author Says US Losing Battle Against Disinformation

Richard Stengel appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Oct. 22, 2019. (WTTW News)

A former Time editor and State Department official on fighting for truth in the age of disinformation. Richard Stengel tells us about his new book “Information Wars.”

Chicago’s Old Post Office Gets Multimillion-Dollar Makeover

Chicago’s Old Post Office on Oct. 21, 2019. (WTTW News)

The hulking Old Post Office building that lay empty for the best part of two decades – and that many feared might never be redeveloped – will soon reopen. Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin weighs in on the landmark.

Time For Winter Prep in The WTTW Garden

With winter right around the corner, home gardeners should harvest whatever fruit and vegetables that remain in their garden as soon as possible. Organic gardener Jeanne Nolan shares tips to get your garden ready for the cold season. 

Chicago Zoological Society Honors Wildlife Conservation Leaders

Lion populations have plummeted in Africa since 1950 as a result of habitat loss and poaching. (Courtesy Susan McConnell)

Colleen and Keith Begg founded an organization that helps maintain the wildlife in the Niassa National Reserve in Mozambique, one of the last remaining strongholds for lions in Africa. 

Scientists Reconstruct Face of Human Ancestor Using Fossilized Bone

How did researchers reconstruct the face of an ancient human ancestor using a fossilized bone? This story and more from the world of science with Neil Shubin.

Trump’s Syria Withdrawal Draws Fire From All Sides

President Donald Trump’s decision to immediately withdraw all U.S. troops from northern Syria has prompted criticism from politicians, military leaders and others. 

Local Scientists Help Create First Long-Range Tornado Forecasts

(Courtesy of Victor Gensini)

Earlier this year, for the first time ever a small team of scientists was able to forecast a severe tornado outbreak almost one month in advance. We speak with Victor Gensini, a key member of that team.

State Sen. Toi Hutchinson Takes on New Role as Illinois’ ‘Cannabis Czar’

(Martijn / Flickr)

She was a driving force behind Illinois’ new marijuana law. Meet the state’s new cannabis regulation oversight officer.

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