The Doomsday Clock is a symbolic representation of the likelihood of a global catastrophe, particularly from nuclear war, climate change, and other existential threats to global civilisation.
It was first created in 1947 by members of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a group of scientists and policy experts who were concerned about the dangers of nuclear weapons.
The clock is set based on a range of factors, including political instability, nuclear weapons testing, and the effects of climate change.
The clock is maintained by the Bulletin’s Science and Security Board, which includes members from a variety of scientific fields, as well as policy experts and international affairs specialists.
The clock has been adjusted 25 times since it was first created, with the most recent adjustment taking place in 2023.
At that time, the clock was moved to 90 seconds to midnight, the closest it has ever been to symbolic doomsday.
The reasons for this adjustment included the continued threat of nuclear war, the lack of progress in addressing climate change, and the increasing risk of cyber attacks.
How often does the doomsday clock change?
There is no fixed schedule for changing the clock, and it can be adjusted at any time at the discretion of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Science and Security Board, based on their assessment of global threats.
The largest number of adjustments occurred during the Cold War, when the clock moved back and forth several times between two and 17 minutes to midnight.
In recent years, the clock has been adjusted more frequently, with six adjustments occurring between 2012 and 2023.
What is the Doomsday Clock a symbol for?
Since it’s creation, the clock has become an important symbol of the dangers of nuclear weapons and other existential threats, and it has been used by policymakers and activists to raise awareness of these issues.
The clock has also inspired a variety of art and media, including the famous Watchmen graphic novel by Alan Moor and its subsequent film adaptation in 2009.
Despite its symbolic nature, the Doomsday Clock serves an important purpose in highlighting the dangers of global catastrophic events and encouraging action to address them.
As such, it is an important reminder of the urgent need for international cooperation and effective policy to prevent the worst possible outcomes.
What is the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists?
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1945 by a group of scientists who had worked on the Manhattan Project, which developed the first atomic bombs.
The organization’s mission is to educate the public about the dangers posed by nuclear weapons and other existential threats, and to work towards a safer and more secure future.
The Bulletin publishes a magazine that covers a range of topics related to science and public policy, including nuclear weapons, climate change, and emerging technologies.
In addition to its publications, the Bulletin engages in a range of advocacy and outreach activities, including public events, expert commentary, and collaboration with other organizations and policymakers.
The organization is comprised of a diverse group of experts, including scientists, policy analysts, and journalists, who bring a range of perspectives and expertise to their work.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists plays an important role in raising awareness about the most pressing global threats and in advocating for effective solutions to these challenges.