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

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.

SpaceX faces more challenges now that it has landed a rocket

The company will need to inspect, refurbish, test and retest its reusable rockets before they can be part of a regular fleet of space vehicles.

California ahead of curve as Clean Power Plan takes effect

New rules taking effect mandate that all states meet new goals for cutting carbon emissions; California is on track to surpass its target.

Maybe Martian gullies weren't made by liquid water

French researchers suggest that small valleys on Martian hills might be the result of carbon dioxide gas rather than flowing water.

Cataloguing the Mojave as hedge against climate change

Researchers are trying to catalog everything in the Mojave Desert in order to one day recreate it in a warehouse -- a blue print to fix problems arising from climate change.

San Bernardino shooting: What we know about shooters Syed Farook, Tashfeen Malik

The motive of the shooting by Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik remains unknown, but a picture of the couple has started to develop. Here's what we know.

Lawyer: Shooter's family shocked, baffled by attack

Syed Farook's family lawyer says nothing seemed out of the ordinary when the shooting suspect saw his family on Sunday.

Climate change dogs efforts to save SoCal valley oaks

A lone crusader's love of valley oaks in Cheeseboro Canyon finds him planting and nursing saplings in land dried out from years of drought and above average temperatures.

Grants for quake-retrofits available to more homes around LA

State funds will help 1,000 homeowners pay for a critical quake retrofit. It's an expansion of a program aimed at shoring up certain types of single family homes.

El Niño: What SoCal can expect

Given the hype around this winter's El Niño, you might be anticipating three months of non-stop rain. But historically, even a wet winter in Southern California isn't all gray.