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

Will CA hit its goal of cutting water use by 25 percent?

California is still on track to meet its overall goal of cutting water use by 25 percent, but just barely. The public needs to save a good deal more by March 1st.

California misses water savings goal for 3rd straight month

The cumulative total of 25.5 percent doesn’t leave much room for more back-sliding if the state is to hit the governor's goal.

Toxins found in seafood worldwide, study shows

A new study from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography found that fish around the globe show varying levels of toxic chemicals.

Meet the hippo-like creature that roamed ancient California

A fossil found near an Orange County freeway is shedding new light on a creature known as a desmostylian. It's a hippo-like mammal that lived on the California coast.

Planet 9: What should its name be if it's found?

At the moment, this new planet is still a theory. It won’t be named until scientists can confirm its existence with pictures.

'Pluto Killer' part of odd couple behind discovery of possible new planet

Chastised for "killing Pluto," Caltech's Mike Brown teamed up with rocker/math genius Konstantin Batygin to find a replacement for the dwarf planet.

Caltech researchers answer critics' questions about Planet 9

Here are some questions skeptics have about the theory of the new planet along with answers from the researchers.

Porter Ranch: Long term health risks of gas leak unknown

As gas leaks from the Porter Ranch well, some toxic substances are entering the air. Researchers are trying to determine the risk these chemicals pose to humans.

El Niño is here, so where's SoCal's non-stop rain?

So far this El Niño pattern is not delivering as much rain as the last big one in 1998 did, even though in some ways it is the strongest on record.

What are the 'HESCO' barriers used to shore up the LA River?

You may not know what a HESCO barrier is, but they are frequently used to prevent flooding. They are made of steel wire and a special UV-resistant fabric.

Bringing fossils into the digital age, one shell at a time

LA County's Natural History Museum is digitizing its vast collection of marine fossils so that researchers around the world can study them anywhere.

Climate change could alter marine food chain off West Coast

As waters off Southern California warm, different sorts of phytoplankton will thrive. Researchers think this could significantly alter the marine ecosystem.

How old is the Sierra Nevada? Much older than we thought.

The data give scientists better insight into how California was formed and what it might look like in the future.

2015 saw record number of whale entanglements

There were 45 documented cases of entangled whales off the coast of California in 2015. Of those, researchers were only able to help about six.

King tides, El Niño could bring 7-foot swells to SoCal

El Niño is causing ocean water to expand and altering weather patterns, increasing winds blowing toward the California coast. All of this is raising average ocean water levels.