Sanden Totten Science Reporter

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Contact Sanden Totten

Sanden Totten is KPCC's Science Reporter. He covers everything from space exploration and medical technology to endangered species and the latest earthquake research. He's also co-producer of Brains On!, a podcast for kids and curious adults about the scientific mysteries of the universe.

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

Catholics adapt to new translations

This Sunday, Roman Catholic churches across the U.S. will roll out a big change that might confuse the pews. For the first time in 40 years, the Church is updating the translation it uses during its English language services. The goal is to bring the prayers closer to the original Latin. For English-speaking Catholics, that means memorizing new words and phrases – some of which are awkward and much more formal than many are used to.

Last chance to see Tim Burton's LACMA exhibit

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is celebrating the end of its five-month exhibit on the work of Tim Burton. Visitors can see art from Burton's movies like "Batman," "Beetlejuice" and "Edward Scissorhands," as well as his original paintings and drawings.

Great California ShakeOut: Convincing people to prepare for an earthquake

When the “big one” hits, will you be ready? That’s the question behind an event called the “Great California ShakeOut.” It’s a statewide earthquake drill happening Thursday at 10:20 a.m.

Music for October 19, 2011

Tunes for today (in order of appearance):

A lost piece of downtown LA history is restored

On Thursday, October 20, the 30-minute film "Of Scrap & Steel" will be projected on the newly renovated roof of the Union Rescue Mission (URM). The 1948 film shows scenes of Los Angeles while telling the story of Arthur Hawkins, an alcoholic executive who ended up on the streets of Los Angeles and whose life was saved when he turned to the URM for help.

Thomas Guides lost in a GPS world

Once so common that businesses advertised their locations by listing Thomas Guide page numbers, they've gotten harder to find.

UCLA researchers find that H1N1 has spread to pigs in Africa

UCLA researchers have made an intriguing discovery. They've found swine flu in North African pigs. They stumbled upon the H1N1 virus while studying swine in Cameroon. The scientists think the pigs caught the virus from humans. They say the strain is almost identical to the one that many Southlanders contracted.

What the ports tell us about the holiday shopping season

The holiday retail season is coming up. While it doesn’t feel much like Christmas yet, cargo ships loaded with future holiday gifts are already pulling into Southern California docks. How busy things get at the ports in the next few weeks will signal retailers' confidence in consumers' appetite to spend this December.

The Phillips Music Store, where Jewish and Mexican music mixed

Boyle Heights was once known as the Ellis Island of the west. In the 1930s, '40s and '50s it was a neighborhood where Jewish and Mexican cultures mixed. One store at the heart of this cultural crossroads was the Phillips Music Store, a musical meeting ground that helped spawn wonderfully original sounds. This weekend a free concert celebrates the legacy of the store.

Calif. film, TV tax breaks appear to work, but is it worth the cost?

Three years ago the California State legislature created the Film and TV Tax Credit Program, which allows TV and movie producers to write off up to 25 percent of their taxes if they film in state. The aim was to keep crews from moving production to states already offering generous incentives, and it's up for renewal this month.

Pregnant “Polly,” the pre-historic plesiosaur, at the L.A. Natural History Museum

The pre-historic plesiosaur: it looked like the quintessential sea monster. It had a long neck, flippers and fangs. Think of the Loch Ness monster, and you are on the right track. But a paper published today in the journal "Science" says these ancient beasts may have actually been social creatures and doting mothers. The research is based on a fossil of a pregnant plesiosaur that's part of the new dinosaur exhibit at the Los Angeles Natural History Museum. Reporter Sanden Totten paid the specimen a visit.

Skid Row's kids put on a show for William and Kate

William and Catherine are back in Britain after a quick visit to Los Angeles. During the royal couple’s three-day stay, they met with A-list celebrities, politicians and business leaders.

Royals William and Kate visit Skid Row

The big news in Los Angeles celebrity gossip this weekend was, of course, the visit of Prince William and Princess Catherine. The Royal Couple were spotted in Hancock Park. They kissed on a polo field in Santa Barbara. They hobnobbed with Tom Hanks and Jennifer Lopez at a Hollywood party. And on Sunday, they visited Inner-City Arts, a school that teaches art to kids living on L.A.'s Skid Row.

William and Kate arrive in LA

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge touched down at LAX Friday afternoon to kick off a whirlwind weekend of meetings, charity events and photo opportunities. The couple were greeted by Gov. Jerry Brown and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

The secrets of spit

Saliva might seem gross when the stuff unintentionally flies out of your mouth, or you see the person sleeping on the seat next to you drooling, but researchers are finding new uses for saliva that could open the way to big changes in the world of medicine.