Articles by Kerry Gordon

Genetically modified foods: let the science speak

Genetically modified food has become a highly politicised, emotional issue with heated arguments and accusations between those for and against their use.

Kerry Gordon - 6 November 2013

HIV vaccine: some progress, but we’re not there yet

While antiretroviral drugs against HIV are getting more effective and allow HIV-positive people to live longer, the ultimate prize is to find a way to cure people of the virus, the best hope being a vaccine.

Kerry Gordon - 9 October 2013

Caps and boots for dung beetles earns Wits scientists an Ig Nobel Prize

The Ig Nobel prizes are the cheeky kid brother of the illustrious Nobel Prizes like the Razzies are to the Oscars.

By Kerry Gordon - 18 September 2013

Fracking: what are the facts?

Natural gas extraction is being promoted as the solution to South Africa's energy crisis. Shell and other energy companies want to harness the untapped reserves of natural gas below the Karoo using fracking. This is meeting stiff opposition, particularly from residents of the Karoo who are concerned about the risks.

Kerry Gordon - 4 September 2013

Do companies have the right to own your genes?

Patenting of genes incentivises research and the discovery of new treatments, tests and drugs. But does the exclusive ownership of biological material stop the sharing of information and prevent treatment getting to the people that need it?

Kerry Gordon - 12 August 2013

Making pregnancy safe: Is South Africa on track?

Having a baby in South Africa can be dangerous. Despite a large government budget for maternal health and free maternity care in the public health system, the rate at which pregnant women die is troubling.

Kerry Gordon - 29 July 2013

The decline of antibiotics

Antibiotics have been miracle drugs, successfully wiping out infections and saving millions of lives. Today, they're increasingly ineffective and we're facing a future where they might not work at all.

Kerry Gordon - 2 July 2013

Climate change denier cherry-pickers

Few other fields of science come under such heavy public scrutiny as climate science. Climate change deniers pick data to fit their agendas, ignoring what the science is telling us.

Kerry Gordon - 18 June 2013

Climate scientists agree: Global warming is man-made

A recent analysis of over 12 000 research papers shows that the overwhelming majority of climate scientists agree that climate change is influenced by human activity.

Kerry Gordon - 5 June 2013

Are we ready for the next pandemic?

Flu infections follow seasons, typically rising in winter and dropping in summer. As it moves, a virus mutates, with the risk that with every new flu season, a highly infectious virus could come back more deadly than before. We struggle between the hype of a new disease and the potential threat it imposes.

Kerry Gordon - 30 May 2013

DEVTA Trial - will it help or harm our treatment programs?

In poverty-ridden countries with a lack of funds and resources, it is critical that the most cost-effective government treatment programs are used. The decision about which programs are the most beneficial needs to be driven by solid, swift science.

Kerry Gordon - 8 May 2013

How Henrietta Lacks became immortal

In 1951, Henrietta Lacks was diagnosed with cervical cancer. She had an aggressive tumour that quickly took over her body. Less than a year after being diagnosed, she died; leaving behind a devastated husband and 6 children. She was 31 years old. But even in her death, some of her cells lived on; dividing and growing, making trillions more cells than ever existed in her body. The combined weight of these cells is now over 400 times what Henrietta Lacks weighed when she was alive.

Kerry Gordon - 24 April 2013

“Cure for death discovered” - Why media reports on science are often misleading

Stories about science in the media are often misleading and over-hyped. In today's science column, Kerry Gordon discusses why.

Kerry Gordon - 10 April 2013

How gamers solved a puzzle that eluded AIDS researchers

This is the first of an occasional new feature science column from GroundUp. We hope these short articles will make science more popular and encourage learners to study science. Today's article by Kerry Gordon describes how in 2011, game players solved a difficult science problem.

Kerry Gordon - 3 April 2013