Sanden Totten

Host, Brains On

Contact Sanden Totten

Sanden Totten is a host and co-producer of American Public Media's Brains On!, a podcast for kids and curious adults about the scientific mysteries of the universe. Prior to that he was KPCC's Science Reporter, where he covered everything from space exploration and medical technology to endangered species and the latest earthquake research.

Before joining KPCC's Science Desk, Sanden was a producer for Take Two and the Madeleine Brand Show. He began his career in journalism at Minnesota Public Radio where he co-created the show "In The Loop," and helped develop the Public Insight Network, a crowd-sourcing tool designed to bring unique perspectives to the news.

Sanden is the winner of several honors, including the Radio and TV News Association’s Golden Mike for “Best Radio Medical and Science Reporting” and the National Entertainment Journalism's award for “Best Radio News Story.” In 2011 he was a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT, he graduated from Oberlin College in 2004 with a BA in Psychology and English.

Sanden has lived in Sweden and Japan and speaks both languages. He's a fan of comics, fast music and movies about time travel.

Stories by Sanden Totten

Officials seek ways to protect waterways from quakes

The aqueducts that supply most of Southern California's water could be taken out by a single quake. Officials are looking for ways to protect these vital waterways.

Despite resupply delays, space station fine on supplies

A SpaceX resupply mission bound for the International Space Station has been delayed until next year. Despite this, astronauts have plenty of food and water.

Scientists releasing more wasps to save citrus trees

A second species of wasp is being used to curb the number of invasive Asian citrus psyllids in California in hopes of saving the state's $2 billion citrus industry.

Earthquake warning system secures $5 million in funding

Scientists have tried to make the public alert system available, but money has been a problem. Now, $5 million has been allocated in a major spending bill approved by Congress.

Who pays? Renters, owners worry about costs of earthquake retrofit plan

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is calling for mandatory retrofits for thousands of seismically vulnerable buildings but renters and owners worry about the cost.

LA unveils new earthquake preparedness plan

Proposal calls mandatory retrofits for tens of thousands of buildings. Building owners have been resistant to similar plans in the past because of the costs.

Drought: Sierra Mountain snowpack 'off to a good start'

California is still in a severe drought, but this week's storm left the Sierra Mountain snowpack with a decent amount of water and more is expected.

Calif. drought is the worst in 1,200 years, new study says

A new analysis found that California's current three year drought is the driest period since the 9th century. Drier years are expected as the region heats up.

New research explains why movies make us feel strong emotions

Movies can make us jump out of our seats, and now a new field of research looks at how these flickering images create such intense responses.

How recently burned hills prone to mudslides recover

Dirt-digging animals help start recovery after flames are extinguished but ground-anchoring plants take years to re-establish.

Will this rain end Southern California's fire season?

Southern California fire agencies have been on high alert for nearly two years but this week's rain may be enough to finally reduce the burn risk in the region.

What is artificial snow actually made of?

The fake flurries seen at malls and theme parks in Southern California are actually tiny bubbles made by creating a blend of surfactants and water.

'Invasion' of rare varied thrushes in Southern California

Scientists aren't sure why the robin-sized bird with black and yellow stripes has travelled this far south, but bird watchers are excited either way.

Got an experiment for Mars? NASA wants your ideas

The space agency is sending another rover to Mars in 2020 and is inviting citizen scientists to turn dead weight needed to balance the lander into an experiment.

'Virtual veteran' prepares social workers to engage real thing

USC researchers have developed a computer simulated patient that helps caregivers practice the skills they need to counsel veterans.