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

How to spot a psychopath

British journalist Jon Ronson is obsessed with obsessives. He's best known for writing the book behind the George Clooney film "The Men Who Stare At Goats." In his latest book, Jon Ronson has turned his own obsessive eye toward psychopaths. The book is called "The Psychopath Test."

Paper Tigers: What happens to the kids of tiger moms and dads when they grow up?

Author Amy Chua raised eyebrows earlier this year with her autobiography of motherhood, "The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother." The book suggests strict parenting can help kids get into Ivy League schools. But what happens to those kids when the test taking is over? That's the question New York magazine writer Wesley Yang set out to answer in his article, "Paper Tigers."

The sad story of the woman who brought us Mother's Day

You might think Mother's Day was an invention of the floral industry or greeting card business. But the holiday as we know it was started by a woman name Anna Jarvis.

The woman who launched Mother's Day

Mother’s Day is this Sunday. You might be planning to send a card or a dozen roses to Mom. If so, you’re not alone. Mother’s Day has become one of the most commercial holidays of the year.

Happy birthday Hubble telescope

On Sunday the Hubble Space Telescope turns 21-years-old. To mark the occasion, NASA is releasing new photos from Hubble’s camera. The latest image - called “Rose” - depicts two galaxies that together look like a flower on a long stem. It’s one of hundreds of thousands of pictures taken by a telescope that almost didn’t fulfill its mission.

2011: The year of the pothole?

If the roads in Los Angeles seem worse than usual, it’s because they are. The city’s Bureau of Street Services says this year is shaping up to be one of the worst years for potholes in recent memory.

Before it hits the Martian dirt, the latest rover is kept very, very clean

After a two-year delay, NASA engineers are putting the final touches on the next Mars rover. The six-wheeled vehicle, dubbed Curiosity, cost rough $2.5 billion and will launch later this year. In the meantime, the rover is kept very, very clean.

The latest in medical marijuana paraphernalia on display at HempCon 2011

The third HempCon came to the Los Angeles Convention Center this weekend. It’s an event that brings together businesses involved in the medical marijuana industry. Convention organizers say it’s the largest one yet, with close to 150 vendors.

Same-sex married couples face complicated tax issues, new tax laws

Ready or not, it's income tax season. Time to call up your accountant or load the latest edition of TurboTax. But for same-sex married couples in California, tax time isn't that easy. New federal rulings place this group in a legal gray zone, with complicated returns and lots of unanswered questions.

Pasadena volunteer detectives track down missing people

This week the Los Angeles City Council voted to enact a hiring freeze at the LAPD. The move is expected to save close to $4 million over the next couple of years. But Police Chief Charlie Beck says it leaves the force understaffed. Many police departments hit by cutbacks are relying more on volunteers to help pick up the slack. The Pasadena Police Department has recruited an entire unit of volunteer detectives to locating missing people.

Cal State schools to reduce enrollment due to budget concerns

The California State University Board of Trustees met Tuesday in Long Beach. The 23 campus system faces a $550 million gap in its annual budget because the state has cut its subsidy as energy and employee health care costs have increased.

New law seeks to curb biker versus car road rage

A new ordinance heading for a vote soon by the Los Angeles City Council would make it easier for bikers to sue aggressive drivers. Bike advocates are calling it a landmark law, but some drivers are wary.

LA Metro will undergo federal investigation after civil rights complaint

Federal authorities say they will investigate whether L.A. County Metro’s planned cuts in bus service would have a disproportionate effect on poor and minority neighborhoods. The investigation follows an advocacy group’s civil rights complaint to the Federal Transit Administration last fall.

Federal officials to investigate fairness of LA Metro's planned bus service cuts

A public transit advocacy group is praising the news that a federal agency will take a look at bus line cuts in Los Angeles. The Federal Transit Administration plans to see if poor and minority communities will be hurt too much by L.A. Metro bus service cutbacks.

Bringing symphonies to Skid Row - playing a concert for LA's Downtown Mental Health Center

Last week on Skid Row, the melodies of Mozart, Bach and Handel filled the air. L.A. Philharmonic first violinist Robert Gupta performed an exclusive concert for clients of the Downtown Mental Health Center. It's part of his continuing effort to combat mental illness with music.