This Thursday, a group of world-renowned scientists issued an ominous warning that the Earth is getting closer to disaster, by adjusting the hands on the official “Doomsday Clock.” The Doomsday Clock is a symbolic device that has been maintained by The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists since 1947. The symbolic move forward on the clock indicates that scientists believe that we are closer, instead of farther away, from a potential apocalypse.
The scientists cited growing concerns about the environment, nuclear tensions and the potential of a full-scale global war as reasons for moving the hand on the clock. Now, after the move forward, the clock is set at 100 seconds to midnight. This is a pretty big deal considering that this is the closest that the clock has ever come to the midnight hour, and the first time that the hands have been within the two minute mark.
NEW: The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announced the Doomsday Clock has moved forward to 100 seconds to midnight.
— ABC News (@ABC) January 23, 2020
In a statement announcing the move, Rachel Bronson, the Bulletin’s president, and CEO, said that our world is facing a “true emergency” and “an absolutely unacceptable state of world affairs that has eliminated any margin for error or further delay.”
According to a press release issued by The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, the scientific community placed blame on government leaders for ignoring environmental concerns and contributing to escalating geopolitical tensions.
The hands on the Doomsday clock have not been moved since 2018, which at the time, was the closest that the world has come to midnight since 1953, during the Cold War. The Clock’s original setting in 1947 was seven minutes to midnight. It has been set backward and forward 23 times since then. The Doomsday Clock has now moved closer to midnight in three of the last four years. While the Doomsday Clock did not move in 2019, its minute hand was set forward in 2018 by 30 seconds, to two minutes before midnight.
Before each time the group makes an adjustment to the clock, they meet with a board of other scientists and researchers, which includes 13 Nobel Laureates. Together, the experts analyze a variety of different global threats to determine where the hands on the Doomsday Clock belong.
Ironically enough, The Doomsday Clock’s origin can be traced to an international group of researchers called the Chicago Atomic Scientists, who had participated in the Manhattan Project. After the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, they began publishing a mimeographed newsletter and then the magazine, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which ultimately grew into the organization that it is now.
December 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the first edition of the magazine, which was created because many scientists at the time believed that the atomic bomb would be “only the first of many dangerous presents from the Pandora’s Box of modern science.” This view was even shared by many of the scientists who helped make the weapon possible.
The public is divided on the significance of the Doomsday Clock, with some taking the advice of scientists more seriously than others.
Doomsday clock predicts that humanity is closer to annihilation than ever before
Posted by The Independent on Thursday, January 23, 2020