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

Drought: Sierra Nevada runoff could dwindle as planet warms

A new study finds that climate change might cause more plants to grow at higher elevations in the Sierra, resulting in less runoff for streams and rivers.

Megadrought: 20 to 50 percent chance by century's end

A new study says climate change will increase the chances that decades long dry spells will hit the Southwest during the next century.

Padilla says state general funds for early warning system an option

Seeking general funds to pay for an earthquake early warning system is not out of the question, says State Senator Alex Padilla.

Napa Earthquake: Injury tally climbs to 120; 6 critically injured

Six people are in critical condition after an earthquake struck wine country early Sunday. One-hundred twenty have been treated for injuries, hospital officials say.

Damaged coral reefs give off smells that drive away fish

A new study says ecologically degraded coral reefs give off a chemical cue that drives away fish and new coral, hindering the recovery process in these areas.

USC scientists uncover the secret of 'electric bacteria'

These novel organisms can send a charge to objects around them, creating the possibility of one day using bacteria to power batteries.

State agency prepares to make a decision on Hollywood Fault

State geologists say they only had limited access to important trenches around the Hollywood fault, a claim that developers dispute.

Rim Fire: How the drought is helping charred lands recover

The lack of heavy rains has allowed fledgling plants to take root and thrive in the 400 square miles torched by one of California's biggest fires.

Lab Notes: how anti-anxiety drugs make fish live longer and more

KPCC science reporter Sanden Totten explains why mood-altering drugs can wreck ecosystems, why celebrity endorsements don't help charities and more.

NASA rerouting Mars orbiters to avoid comet collision

A massive comet will fly by Mars on Oct. 19. NASA is using evasive moves to ensure none of its spacecraft are damaged by comet dust traveling faster than a bullet.

Can a privatized earthquake warning system be cheaper, faster?

State law calls for public-private partnership on quake early warning system. Trade secrets, different approaches complicate cooperation.

Earthquake early warnings: Rift forms in public, private efforts

State law calls for public-private partnership on quake early warning system. Trade secrets, different approaches complicate cooperation.

New kelp tests will show if Fukushima radiation has reached West Coast

The rubbery sea plant absorbs radioactive isotopes, and tests so far haven't found evidence that tainted water from Fukushima has reached North America.

Why Huntington Beach has such reliably good waves

From the direction it faces, to its latitude on the globe, Huntington Beach is set up perfectly to get great waves.

El Niño's warm waters bring exotic sea life to California

Hammerhead sharks, Bryde's whales, needlefish and other rare creatures are showing up off the coast of California. Scientists think El Niño might be responsible.