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Doomsday clock is set at 5 minutes to apocalypse, says Atomic Scientists

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The Doomsday clock is set at five minutes to apocalypse according to the members of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists who “created the Doomsday Clock … using the imagery of apocalypse (midnight) and the contemporary idiom of nuclear explosion (countdown to zero) to convey threats to humanity and the planet,” reported the Los Angeles Times on Jan. 15, 2014.

The announcement that the Doomsday clock is set at five minutes to apocalypse was announced on Tuesday by the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. John Mecklin, who is the editor in chief of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, told the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday that the determination on where the clock stands is based on a “a spirited and extremely deep discussion."

The Doomsday clock, which hangs on a wall in a Bulletin's office at the University of Chicago, has been in existence since 1947 and is being observed by the members of the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. The members are being advised by the Governing Board and the Board of Sponsors, including 18 Nobel Laureates.

Unlike other Doomsday predictions, scientists determine the setting of the Doomsday clock based on the world’s nuclear stockpiles, cyber weapons, and environmental impacts such as carbon dioxide emissions that have made oceans more acidic.

Back in 1947, the Doomsday clock showed seven minutes to midnight. Six years later, in 1953, the clock showed the most critical time in history – two minutes to midnight – after nitrogen bomb tests were conducted by the United States and Russia within just nine months.

Even though the Doomsday clock has not moved either forward or backward in comparison to last year, the members contributing to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists sent their annual letter to the United Nations this year because the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists “is not happy with the state of things."

“They say the world's biggest threat is the ‘potentially civilization-ending’ outsized nuclear stockpiles of the United States and Russia, along with the growing arsenals in India, Pakistan and China.”

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