01/04/2012 - 14:10

Doomsday Clock announcement to follow international symposium in Washington, DC

WASHINGTON, DC – NEWS ADVISORY – The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS) will announce whether or not it is moving the minute hand of its famous "Doomsday Clock" at 1 p.m. EST/1800 GMT on January 10, 2012 in Washington, DC. The Doomsday Clock announcement will follow year-long deliberations culminating in the 3rd Annual Doomsday Clock Symposium on January 9, 2012.

The last time the Doomsday Clock minute hand moved was in January 2010, when the Clock's minute hand was pushed back one minute from five to six minutes before midnight.

News event speakers will include:

  • Allison Macfarlane, chair, BAS Science and Security Board, member, Blue Ribbon Commission on American's Nuclear Future, and associate professor, George Mason University;
  • Lawrence Krauss, co-chair, BAS Board of Sponsors, foundation professor, School of Earth and Space Exploration and Physics departments, associate director, Beyond Center, co-director, Cosmology Initiative, and director, New Origins Initiative, Arizona State University;
  • Robert Socolow, member, Science and Security Board, professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and co-principal investigator, Carbon Mitigation Initiative, Princeton University;
  • Jayantha Dhanapala, member, BAS Board of Sponsors, former United Nations under-secretary-general for Disarmament Affairs (1998-2003), and ambassador of Sri Lanka to the United States (1995-7); and
  • Kennette Benedict, executive director, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

The January 10, 2012 Doomsday Clock announcement at the Advancement of Science (AAAS) auditorium will follow an international symposium to be held on January 9, 2012 at the Jones Day law firm, 51 Louisiana Ave NW, Washington, DC. The Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, with participation from the Sponsors, will review the implications of recent events and trends for the future of humanity with input from other experts on nuclear weapons, nuclear energy, climate change, and biosecurity.

Questions to be addressed on January 9th will include: what is the future of nuclear power after Fukushima?; how are nuclear weapons to be managed in a world of increasing economic, political, and environmental volatility?; what are the links among climate change, resource scarcity, conflict, and nuclear weapons?; and what is required for robust implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention? Click here for the full program for the January 9th symposium.

TO PARTICIPATE IN PERSON: You can attend the Doomsday Clock news event on January 10, 2012, 1 p.m. EST/1800 GMT at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) auditorium, 1200 New York Avenue, Washington, DC. Attendance will be limited to credentialed members of the news media. For security reasons, all attendees must RSVP in advance by contacting Patrick Mitchell, (703) 276-3266, or pmitchell@hastingsgroup.com.

CAN'T PARTICIPATE IN PERSON?: Reporters in the US who are unable to attend the live news event in person can listen to the proceedings over a live, phone-based, one-way phone feed on January 10, 2012 at 1 p.m. EST/1800 GMT by dialing 1 (800) 860-2442. Toll free lines are available for callers in the UK, France, Germany and Japan. Callers in the UK may use 080 823 890 64. Callers in Germany may use 0800 664 7650. Callers in France may use 0805 1022 07. Callers in Japan may use 0066 33 1330 94. Reporters from others countries may use 412-858-4600 to connect to the live news event. Callers should ask to be connected to the "2012 BAS Doomsday Clock" news event. No questions will be taken over the one-way phone feed. A streaming audio recording of the news event will be available later on January 10, 2012 at http://www.thebulletin.org.

CONTACT: Patrick Mitchell, (703) 276-3266, or pmitchell@hastingsgroup.com.

Founded in 1945 by University of Chicago scientists who had helped develop the first atomic weapons in the Manhattan Project, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists subsequently created the Doomsday Clock in 1947 using  the imagery of apocalypse (midnight) and the contemporary idiom of nuclear explosion (countdown to zero), to convey threats to humanity and the planet. The decision to move the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock is made by the Bulletin's Board of Directors in consultation with its Board of Sponsors, which includes 18 Nobel Laureates. The Clock has become a universally recognized indicator of the world's vulnerability to catastrophe from nuclear weapons, climate change, and emerging technologies in the life sciences.