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

Your idle computer could help scientists study the drought

Researchers from Oregon State University want to use a sophisticated computer program to identify at the factors behind the current drought, and they need your help.

Fourth of July fireworks linked to spike in air pollution

A new study shows that air pollution increases dramatically on the Fourth of July, likely due to fireworks. However, the uptick is short-lived.

4 things to do when lightning strikes at the beach

A monsoonal system in northern Mexico and Arizona will bring hot, humid weather and a chance of thunderstorms. Beachgoers should be aware of the potential for lightning strikes.

Urban trees dying in drought. What you need to know

As the drought continues, many mature trees in California are showing signs of drought stress. Here is what you need to know to keep your trees healthy.

Tar balls in Long Beach likely from an oil spill

While there natural oil seeps off the coast of Los Angeles, they aren't known to produce large amounts of tar balls like the kind seen in the area recently.

How to reunite your family after a real San Andreas quake

Setting up a communication plan can help families check in and meet up when a major disaster cripples the phone lines.

Astronaut baths and other water saving tips from NASA

Californians looking to save water during the drought might get inspiration from astronauts living aboard the International Space Station.

AP: Increased oil production linked to leaks (updated)

The oil pipeline leak that was detected on Tuesday reflects a troubling trend in the nation's infrastructure.

5 tips for putting your lawn on 'life support'

Lawn researchers and experts say the drought doesn't necessarily have to mean the death of your lawn.

Wasps, slugs and dinos! Pick the coolest new species of 2015

From a psychedelic sea slug to a cartwheeling spider, many interesting new species were catalogued over the last year. Vote for your favorite.

The psychology of why some people aren't saving water

A majority of Californians think water agencies should do more to save water during the drought, but many feel they can't sacrifice more themselves.

Why does the sun make some people sneeze?

If you've ever looked at the sun and suddenly sneezed, you are not alone. About 10 percent of the population has a strange condition called photic sneeze reflex.

Nepal quake: Magnitude-7.3 aftershock slams region

The region was already devastated by a magnitude-7.8 temblor on April 25 that killed more than 8,000 people. The new quake destroyed buildings and triggered landslides.

JPL technology helps find survivors in Nepal quake rubble

A JPL device called FINDER is helping responders in Nepal locate victims trapped under rubble by scanning for their heartbeats.

More lesions, tumors showing up on dolphins in Santa Monica Bay

It's believed pollution in the bay is weakening the animals' immune systems, leaving them vulnerable to lesions and even deformities.