What is the Doomsday Clock?

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What is the Doomsday Clock? Blog Image

Overview:

Atomic scientists reset the "Doomsday Clock" recently, moving its hands to 90 seconds to midnight - closer than ever before to the threat of annihilation.

About Doomsday Clock:

  • What is it? It is a symbolic timepiece showing how close the world is to ending.
  • The hands of the clock are moved closer to or further away from midnight based on the scientists' reading of existential threats at a particular time.

Purpose

  • It warns how many metaphorical “minutes to midnight” humanity has left.
  • It is intended to warn the public and inspire action.
  • How is the clock set? A Chicago-based non-profit organization called the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists updates the time annually based on information regarding catastrophic risks to the planet and humanity

Origin and History:

  • The clock was created in 1947 by a group of atomic scientists, including Albert Einstein, who had worked on the Manhattan Project to develop the world's first nuclear weapons during World War Two.
  • When it was created in 1947, the placement of the Doomsday Clock was based on the threat posed by nuclear weapons.
  • In 2007, the Bulletin began including catastrophic disruptions from climate change in its hand-setting deliberations.
  • The furthest the clock has been set was 17 minutes to midnight, in 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

What time is it now?

  • At 90 seconds to midnight, the "Doomsday Clock" is now the closest it has ever been to midnight. 
  • It is the first time it has moved since it was set at 100 seconds to midnight in 2020.
  • Its setting reflects the revived fears of a nuclear war due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

 


Q1) What is the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists?

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists engages science leaders, policy makers, and the interested public on topics of nuclear weapons and disarmament, climate change, growing energy demands, and disruptive technologies. It has been published continuously since 1945, when it was founded by former Manhattan Project physicists.

Source: Explainer: What is the 'Doomsday Clock' and how does it work?