Kirsten Sanford

November 12th, 2007

I’ve been interested in science for as long as I can remember, but it was somewhere in the middle of graduate school that I realized I didn’t want to be a scientist for the rest of my life. Somebody could have told me that a little earlier! But, nevertheless, the journey I have been on that allowed me such a realization also helped me to recognize that I am good at teaching, and that my experience in science research enhances my capacity for helping others to understand it. I want to help inform people about science and the important place it holds in our society. So, I have decided to become a science journalist and media personality, and in doing so infiltrate print, broadcast, and internet mediums with science.

In 1999, I started a radio show called This Week in Science with a good friend. The friend has since moved on to different pastures, but I have maintained the program and brought it to more people than ever before by turning it into a podcast in 2005. I have even more plans in store for this little radio show. Can you say video-cast?

In 2006, I worked at WNBC-TV in NYC as a producer for the medical/health reporter, Dr. Max Gomez. TV is quite a different world from radio, but my whistle is whetted. I’m currently pursuing the many various science video programming employment options.

I started this blog as well, so that I could practice and sharpen my writing skills, and share my thoughts with others.

I received my PhD in Physiology with an emphasis in neurophysiology in December of 2006 from UC Davis. My area of specialization is avian learning and memory, and my dissertation topic was on spatial memory in non-storing songbirds. Don’t tell me any jokes about bird brains, please. I have heard them all.

In my spare time, I also study tae-kwon-do, and received my black-belt in 2005. When I’m not kicking or looking at brains, I enjoy hula hooping to dance music turned up loud. Occasionally, I will even add fire to the mix with my extra-special fire hoop. I am a multi-year veteran of Burning Man, and will most likely be making the annual pilgrimage to the desert again this year.

I hope that you enjoy this blog, and if you have the time and inclination, my radio show as well. If you would like to see my science media resume, click here. If you would like to see my CV, click here.

105 Responses to “Kirsten Sanford”

  1. Jeremy on July 24, 2009 8:07 am

    Dr. Kiki,
    Love watching your podcast, science has always interested me. If I had a professor as smart, funny, and beautiful as you, I might of actually paid more attention, better late then never I guess 😉

  2. Amit Patel on July 28, 2009 10:06 am

    Is it just me or have the comments on this post gotten stranger and stranger from 2007 to 2009?

  3. John Kahler on July 31, 2009 8:19 pm

    Dr. Kiki,

    Thank you so much for all of your work. Now I have something to do besides staring at my Seti screensaver, hoping for hits.

    Please do a Science Hour on emergent properties of complex systems.

  4. David Dionne on August 4, 2009 1:06 am

    Hey, saw u on The Science Channel and just wanted to swing by and show some luv…good stuff.


  5. Joseph Miller on September 7, 2009 11:58 pm

    Hello Kiki,
    First saw you on Brink talking about stem cell research in China. I was particularly interested because my daughter has Aicardi’s Syndrome. Born without her corpus callosum that part of the brain that ties right and left brain together. So she has seizures that are basically untreatable without meds that are so strong that they knock her out 95% of her life. So she is bedridden and although she is 4 years old has developed only to maybe the level of a 2 month old child. I’m writing because you and your readers are on the leading edge of science and this is where Nicole needs to be to ever have any hope of a life. Otherwise she is doomed to her bed. Stem cell therapy is probably her only hope so I am writing to ask you to keep your ears open for the latest in that field relative to the brain and nervous system. Thank you, Joseph

  6. Paul on October 23, 2009 12:12 am

    So let me get this straight… you’re 35 (although you look older), unmarried, childless, and very much involved with your “career”. If you continue on this trajectory, you will die a childless and miserable woman, and worst of all, you will have denied Western civilization (and this world) your progeny. It is because of women like you that whites will be an extinct group within a few hundred years. Your time is very near the end. Good luck with your meaningless career.

  7. Kirsten Sanford on October 28, 2009 6:01 pm

    Re: the previous comment: Wow. So, this is what being trolled feels like. Not my favorite feeling in the world. Thanks, Paul.

  8. A very different guy named Paul on November 9, 2009 3:01 pm

    Dr. Kiki you rock like its 2525 !!! The world needs smart talented people like you to explain science and it’s complexities to dull normal folks like me so keep doing what you are doing because you, in case you missed it earlier, rock !!! Thanks and have a swell day.

  9. Robert Arauz on November 10, 2009 7:38 pm

    Hello Dr. Kiki, I met you at “Lets have a fun fun time doing science” event at UCSF last month. Our group is interested in perhaps meeting with you in an effort to coordinate a way for us to reach the community in regards to our project. Please feel free to check our website or contacting me if you have any questions.

    Thank you

  10. stephen benson on December 4, 2009 4:19 pm

    your a great person keep it up

  11. Jared P. Dempsey, Ph.D. on December 7, 2009 1:56 pm

    Dr. Sanford:
    We would like to invite you to present at Research Week at OSU. I’ve emailed you information at your TWIS email account. If you do not receive it, please let me know.
    Jared Dempsey

  12. Erika on December 16, 2009 2:37 pm

    Just caught your podcast on iTunes. Super cool! Do you sell your science music cd compilations (I’m guessing that’d be illegal, but figured it best to ask)? Looking for a present for my HS science teacher hubby!

    P.S. Paul, if you’re still reading, you’re a freak.

  13. Michael Horn on January 1, 2010 11:48 pm

    Hi Kirsten,

    I notice that you were linked to Phil’s blog, where I’m providing a little bit of provocative information, and testing the waters to see if there are truly scientific thinkers over there or just, well, skeptics.

    I’m also engaged in a delightful exchange with Michael Shermer who, as I mention at Phil’s blog, appears to be a bit stumped by info I’ve provided him from my site ( such as contained in this article:

    I would be delighted to exchange thoughts with you and your readers in the spirit of pursuing the truth.

    Just in case it would be helpful to establish that I am indeed very familiar with common but disproved theories about “UFO hoaxes”, etc. (not that they don’t exist in abundance) please feel free to see how well the good fellows at IIG fared in trying to make their case, in a format generously provided by me in my film:

    Anyway, nice to have found you here and I do look forward to any and all correspondence.

  14. David Hennessee on January 8, 2010 9:11 am

    Have you ever done a podcast on vitamins, Pros and Cons?


  15. Eric on February 1, 2010 10:35 pm

    Greetings Kirsten! I’ve just discovered you and your TWIS podcast. I’m a great fan of science, particularly astronomy. I’ve had a lot of experience recently in, uh, “debating” the moon landing hoax issue with the most stup-, er, stubborn of people. I see you’re also aware of Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy/Universe Today site. Do you happen to participate in the BAUT forum as well?

    I’d appreciate it a lot if you can arrange a moon landing-related episode of your podcast! Maybe you could even get Phil or Jay Utah involved! For that matter, I could skype in and chat with you, though I’m not nearly the expert either of those fellows are.

    No matter what, though, keep up the fine work!

  16. Prem Misri on February 11, 2010 10:32 pm

    Hello Dr. Kiki,

    I am new in the tech world and doing everything to get into the loop. At the moment I live in Thailand working as a PR for a new startup website. Part of my job description is to keep up with all podcasts and videos. I would say that it’s the best part of my job as well as making contacts with people in the business. One of my favorite shows is TWIS and I look forward to them. You are a model for me as far as personality and style. Thank you so much!

  17. Rod Martel on February 12, 2010 1:12 am

    Hello Kirsten,

    I’m just watching Leo and you interviewing Roz Savage (Roz Rows 60). I happy to hear that you will be the one doing podcast with her. Can’t what for her next leg of here trip.

    One very important subject that was brought up was climate change.

    I live here in Edmonton Alberta Canada. Our provincial Government is talking about building a Nuclear Power Plant near Weberville, 30 kilometers north of Peace River. This is our Government’s answer to global warming? (No thank you!) I believe it’s to power the Oil Sands Project. (A very bad idea.)

    We do have a windmill farm in southern Alberta, near Pincher Creek. If our Government would tax these oil giants accordantly and put that money into more windmill farms, solar farms and geothermal farms then maybe we Albertans can cut our use of Petroleum and shut down the oil sands.

    We are trying to do our part by installing compact fluorescent bulbs, LED bulbs, programmable thermostats, Smart Power Meters, better windows, doors, 95% efficient furnaces and appliances.

    With Smart Power Meters we can sell solar and wind energy back to our electric power suppliers.

    Twit has become a very big in podcast/videocast media on the internet. As Twit’s only scientist I am asking you to spearhead a new podcast about renewable energy and poke Leo with a stick and get him to go along with it. We won’t make him give up his Ford just yet.

    I know there are a lot of podcast of this type but they do not have the audience that Twit has.

    I would also like to see the Twit Cottage start adding solar panels to help with global warming.

    Thank You,

  18. Stefano Marcelli on February 13, 2010 7:25 am

    I read of you in an Italian blog, regarding to acupuncture and conflict of interest.
    Please I would like to share with you some findings in the controversial domain of the acupuncture evidence.

    I hope you’ll like it and aid me to make my work known in the US.
    I would not want to tell you are a beatuful woman, but by now I did it :-).


  19. Matches Malone on March 2, 2010 4:55 pm

    First time I’ve read this, although I’ve been following you awhile…. Most of what you want to do TVwise can be DIY at this point. I’d offer to produce, however, you’re in SF, and I’m hovering down here in LA. That, and we have a fundamental difference of opinions on a few topics, which might preclude us ever working together 🙂

  20. Student Interview with Dr. Kristen Sanford « CONFERENCE ON WORLD AFFAIRS on March 15, 2010 7:31 pm

    […] Check out Dr. Kiki’s blog at […]

  21. wagdog on March 23, 2010 5:50 pm

    “I’m a PhD scientist … and is now making…”

    That doesn’t sound very grammatical.

  22. Helen on May 11, 2010 2:25 pm

    Hi Kirstin,

    I’m an attorney at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. In 2009 we launched the Online Media Legal Network (OMLN), a free legal referral network that helps independent journalists and online publishers find free legal help. The network provides assistance in a broad range of legal issues, including pre-publication review of content, copyright counseling and licensing, freelancer agreements, and representation in litigation.

    We’re reaching out to the community of science journalists and scientists who blog about their work or comment upon science coverage in the news media. Our services are completely free, but we do have some limitations on who we can help. If you would like to learn more about our project, I encourage you to visit our website at or email me directly.

    Please also feel free to spread the word about OMLN and to fellow scientists and science journalists!

  23. Jesus Christ on May 17, 2010 7:47 pm

    1915 – 1.8 Billion people,
    2010 – 6.8 Billion people,
    Past 95 years – 5 Billion people,
    Next 300 years – 22 Billion people,
    Problems – Poverty, starvation, global warming, hole in the ozone layer, crime, pollution, land destruction, pain and misery,
    Solution to world’s problems – “STOP CREATING BABIES”!!!

  24. Paul Riley on May 30, 2010 5:36 pm

    Is it possible to observe in space two close black holes that have jets of material traveling near the speed of light colliding with each-other? Black holes are often found near the center of galaxies or where ever they might be and are rare to find. The jets of material from the two different black holes in space that collide with each-other might be similar to observing particles from collisions in the Large Hadron Collider…. I listen or watch Dr. Kiki’s Science Hour and find it very interesting….


  25. Ronnie on June 11, 2010 8:52 am

    Kiki You are a super hero
    You blinded me with science 🙂

  26. Matthew Stoops on June 14, 2010 10:55 am

    Dr. Kiki, I just heard on Tom’s TNT show that you’re starting a green show in July. We’ve been publishing a 1/2 hr. weekly renewable energy podcast since 2006. It’d be fun to collaborate. If you have the time, check one out:

    Our podcaster is Stephen “Podstar” Lacey, and can be contact here:


  27. Scott Adkin on July 5, 2010 8:51 am

    I look at Nasa’s home site. They are only listing the Juno and Glory probes. Would you know if they are planing on replacing the Chandra and its sister generation craft after they wear out?

    Also. I love your pod cast! Thank you so very much for enriching my life!

    Roanoke Va.

  28. Joel Calhoun on July 23, 2010 4:41 pm

    Sorry I coudn’t find where else to post this.
    I’m just listening to Dr. Kiki’s Science hour and your call for topics.

    This is a link to Astronomy Cast. I think the Science of Science Fiction shows would be a great topic and Dr.

    NASA scientist Dr. Kevin Frazier is the guest on this episode and I think he would make a great guest.

    Thanks, love the shows,

    Everett, WA

  29. Stephan on August 27, 2010 8:59 am


    congratulation! in February a new life will be starting for you, an unknown lucky male an this what the Toaster leave. I like that twittter message it’s keep me smiling.

    I hope you are well an everything is in a good mood.

    best wishes from germany


  30. Stephen on September 11, 2010 8:35 pm

    I just listened to your TWiT August 31 Podcast – Dr. Kiki’s Science Hour 61: Injunction Junction What’s Your Function? (

    You tipped-toed around (ignored) two very important questions regarding human embryonic research which are at the heart of the funding controversy. The most important question is, when does a human life begin? and secondly, is it moral to sacrifice human life to better the life of other humans (future humanity)?

    Human embryonic scientists want to ignore these questions. (Moral philosophy is not part of my job title.)

    I am really troubled when science thinks it can operate in a moral vacuum.

  31. Terry Ricketts on October 4, 2010 1:42 pm

    With reference to your Science Hour #65 you might be interested in this article on msnbc:

    It appears that the trial was NOT about his view of the solar system but about whether he had the right to interpret the bible. In light of the fact that the reformation had happened a few years earlier it is understandable that the church was a bit touchy on this subject.
    The church was not as anti-science as we have been lead to believe!

  32. Phil Thouin on October 10, 2010 12:32 pm

    Dr. Kiki,
    Two things:
    First, I want to express my deep appreciation for your weekly podcast that I listen as I walk in the woods and parks of the Lower St-Lawrence in Quebec (Canada). Congratulations for your inspiring interviews & for your pregnancy you mentioned a few issues ago.

    Second, if you have room for topic suggestions for future issues, I recently read about Dr. Gilbert N. Ling’s controversy concerning the cellular ‘Sodium Pump’ process (circa 1979). Here is one link on the subject:
    Sorry if you have already touched on this subject in a past podcast (I couldn’t find an index going back to the first 40 or 50 issues of ‘Dr. Kiki’s Scoience Hour’)

    Thank you!

  33. Don Morgan on October 23, 2010 5:33 am

    Yes i was Wondering Like i Always Do i Have Ask Eveyone To Work on Voice Automation How Far Do You Think We Are i Would Like Voice Automation To Be Intergrated into Robots To Preform Task Thanks
    Don :):):)

  34. Vance McPherson on November 7, 2010 1:48 am

    Good day, Dr. Sanford,

    I recently published a review article in The Crucible, something of a trade magazine for science teachers in Ontario, Canada. The purpose for the article was to survey, very briefly, some of the people who have successfully popularized science over the years. The argument was that science students need to be exposed to more of this sort of thing than what they are currently getting. The authors I chose to review were Charles Darwin, Stephen Jay Gould, Bill Bryson (the sole non-scientist of the lot, nominated for his excellent “A Short History of Nearly Everything”), Stephen Hawking, and you. I thought it was important to capture a serious science writer who is making use of Web 2.0 and the new media, and you epitomize those characteristics.

    My review was published in the September 2010 issue of The Crucible. Let me know if you’d like the pdf.

    — Vance McPherson,
    Virtual High School (Ontario)

  35. Richard Barry on November 9, 2010 7:12 am

    Hi Dr Kiki

    I listened to the episode you did on lighting in GTT.

    There was an item on eye problems caused by “blue” (really white, with a hint of blue) LEDs and BLEDs on the 20h evening news – these include macular disease, and similar. I notice lots of these on cars , travellators, and public space lighting in Europe, and one is concerned that if every car (for example) uses BLEDs rather than conventional lighting, it will be impossible to choose to avoid this pollution.

    You might consider including it in a future show. Google & Co have lots of stuff on the issue.


  36. Martín Javier on December 1, 2010 8:58 am

    Hi Kiki!
    My name is Martin, I’m from Buenos Aires, Argentina.
    I’m looking for the scripts of this episode “Green Tech Today 9: The California Lighting Technology Center”
    if you have the printed script, I can generate the subtitles for deaf people.
    My idea is translate the scripts to Spanish too
    Thanks you very much

  37. » Nightlife @ CalAcademy of Sciences // Oct. 11, 2009 // San Francisco, CA on January 4, 2011 1:58 am

    […] this week, host Kirsten Sanford brings her radio show “This Week In Science” to NightLife. She will be recording a show in our […]

  38. Green Tech Today 3: Google Goes Green « TreeMagazine – For People who CARE! on January 27, 2011 1:03 am

    […] I’m a PhD scientist (Neurophysiology) who somehow escaped from the lab and is now making my way in independent Science media and journalism. Check out my bio page here […]

  39. Steve Morgan on January 31, 2011 2:16 pm

    Hi Dr Kiki,

    I’m writing from a British television company, we’re making a Science Channel programme at the moment and it would be great to chat with you to see if your interests and expertise overlap with the subject matter. Drop me a line on the email address supplied if you’re interested.

    Best wishes,

    Steve Morgan

  40. Niels on April 9, 2011 4:27 pm
  41. Bloggingheads: Growing Pains in Gas Country - on April 23, 2011 7:21 pm

    […] Postscript: I spent an hour on Thursday exploring the state of the planet on “Dr. Kiki’s Science Hour” with Kirsten Sanford, a neurophysiologist and science writer and interviewer: […]

  42. Dot Earth: Bloggingheads: Growing Pains in Gas Country - World Bad News : World Bad News on April 24, 2011 6:21 pm

    […] Postscript: we spent an hour on Thursday exploring a state of a world on “Dr. Kiki’s Science Hour” with Kirsten Sanford, a neurophysiologist and scholarship author and interviewer: […]

  43. Dot Earth: Bloggingheads: Growing Pains in Gas Country on April 24, 2011 7:57 pm

    […] Postscript: we spent an hour on Thursday exploring a state of a universe on “Dr. Kiki’s Science Hour” with Kirsten Sanford, a neurophysiologist and grant author and interviewer: […]

  44. michael Carroll on April 27, 2011 8:44 am

    I am writing a short story about a conversation between the three brains (reptilian, mammalian and executive). I have characters for these – a frog, a cat and a human. but I am puzzled about where a bird comes in. Which brain or brains does it have? Would like to add a fourth character.


  45. Terry Jackson on May 18, 2011 9:56 pm

    Hi Dr Kiki I have seen the odd show of yours before, but I have just recently found myself hooked and will prob have to go back to episode 1 and see everything I have missed. I love what you do with your show and it brings one of my favorite topics, namely science, to life. I just thought I would pass my feelings along. I did however notice that on episode 78 for Jan 6 2011 the date on the title screen said Jan 6 2010. I guess I am not the only one that has trouble writing the date when a new years starts. Keep up the great work.


  46. Aaron Bruchis on May 30, 2011 6:18 pm

    I emailed this to Leo, and wanted to copy you as well.

    Howdy Leo and Dr_Kiki!
    With all the extra room you will have in the new studio, I was thinking it might be possible to partner with some of the students at the High School in the area that were science nerds and to do projects with them. DrKiki recently had Joseph Lazio from JPL as a guest. Not only is he a expert is radio astronomy, but when he talked about there being readily available kit’s, and/or plans for building backyard radio telescopes for only a few hundred dollars, not only did that make me want to build one, but it made me think, what a PERFECT podcast. The kids could work on it during the week and edit it together to make an interesting 30 minutes to an hour. Heck, you could work on optical astronomy, rocketry, robotics… all sorts of things. Perhaps even get Dell or Ford to help subsidize the show (Dell to subsidize the radio telescope at least…. that just makes sense!)

    It would not only be Edutainment like the majority of the podcasts you do now, but this could rally change some lives as well as being edutainment.

    I mean, they have solar DIY kits, you could have a project that helps with a bit of the new studio’s electricity costs as well as howing how easy it is to do!

    Anyway, I think it would be a popular show, and even could open up the TWiT audience and get it to grow.
    Offer it to science teachers to show in class’s, make it a real resource, and get a younger crowd excited about the potential for what they can do.

    It might even be something Jerri Ellsworth would be interested in. (Just sayen)

    Heck, you could pay for the radio telescope with a bake sale! That just blows my mind.

    Anyway, again, I think ity would be an exciting direction for TWiT to explore, and a great use of resources.

    Hope you agree

    AaronB from chat

  47. Arsen the dentist. on May 31, 2011 7:04 pm

    Hi Kiki.
    I came across to your blog and immediately got hooked. I love your writing, even though you say that you are trying to sharpen your writing skills, I think that you are already there. And I have to mention that you look absolutely stunning. And your eyes took my heart hostage.

  48. Douglas Lamore on June 21, 2011 9:34 pm

    I’m Douglas Lamore, a independent writer and director. For the past four years, I’ve been working with my film partner Brian Harrison Mack (writer/producer) shooting ultra low budget, high quality short films. Together, we comprise Charlatan Studios, and we’ve made around 20 such films to date.
    Our short films have seen a lot of success in festivals around the country, but now its time to tackle our first feature-length project, and we’re looking for your support! FALL OF GOD will be our first feature film–a dark, off-beat, religious satire that deals with the subjects of art and religion. The story focuses on three main characters and how their worlds collide.

    Please visit our kickstarter campaign here:

    Thank you!

  49. bertrand russell on July 21, 2011 1:53 pm

    Dear Kiki

    I would like to point out that your forum (that I am posting on right now!!) is backwards….it should be that the newest posts go at the top of the page and older posts get relegated further and further down the page!

  50. paul baldovin on August 22, 2011 3:44 am

    send my good friend at google an email about your g+ situation..

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