The Doomsday Clock is an internationally recognized design that conveys how close we are to destroying our civilization with dangerous technologies of our own making. First and foremost among these are nuclear weapons, but the dangers include climate-changing technologies, emerging... Read More
A typhoon was coming, the fuel pump failed, they had to switch planes, things were wired incorrectly, they missed their rendezvous, they couldn’t see the primary target, they ran out of gas on the way home, and they had to crash-land. But the worst part was when the Fat Man atomic bomb started to arm itself mid-flight.
At three minutes to midnight on the Bulletin’s Doomsday Clock, the time has come to consider constructive steps on the multilateralization of nuclear arms control negotiations that lead toward disarmament.
Lynn EdenRobert RosnerRod EwingSivan KarthaEdward "Rocky" Kolb Lawrence M. KraussLeon LedermanRaymond T. PierrehumbertM. V. RamanaJennifer SimsRichard C. J. SomervilleSharon SquassoniElizabeth J. WilsonDavid TitleyRamamurti Rajaraman
Today, more than 25 years after the end of the Cold War, the members of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Science and Security Board have looked closely at the world situation and found it so threatening that the hands of the Doomsday Clock must once again be set at three minutes to midnight.
Lawrence M. KraussLynn EdenRobert RosnerAlexander GlaserEdward "Rocky" Kolb Leon LedermanRamamurti RajaramanM. V. RamanaElizabeth J. WilsonRichard C. J. SomervilleSivan KarthaJennifer SimsRod Ewing
A careful review of threats leads the Bulletin's Science and Security Board to conclude that the risk of civilization-threatening technological catastrophe remains high, and that the hands of the Doomsday Clock should therefore remain at five minutes to midnight.
Robert SocolowThomas RosenbaumLynn EdenRod EwingAlexander GlaserSivan KarthaEdward "Rocky" Kolb Leon LedermanRamamurti RajaramanM. V. RamanaRobert RosnerJennifer SimsRichard C. J. SomervilleElizabeth J. Wilson
Editor's note: Founded in 1945 by University of Chicago scientists who had helped develop the first atomic weapons in the Manhattan Project, the Bulletin of the 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.
Over the past 50 years, dozens of articles have appeared in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists on the Cuban Missile Crisis. And with each passing year, new and relevant information has been reported -- which, for better or worse, has taught readers that the world was closer to full-scale nuclear war than was originally thought.
Earlier this month, widespread inaction on the increasing dangers posed by nuclear proliferation and climate change forced the Bulletin's Doomsday Clock to move one minute closer to midnight, indicating the mounting perils confronting humanity's survival. One factor pushing the clock forward to five minutes to midnight was the failure to ensure strict security and comprehensive international oversight for nuclear weapons and materials, which continue to accumulate in a few nations.
When dreadful events occur, reporters, readers, and interested citizens contact the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists asking whether we will move the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock. The alarming nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Power Station on March 11 prompted e-mails and calls to our office seeking the Bulletin's reaction as well as accurate information about what was happening in Japan.
When the Bulletin last moved the hand of the Clock closer to midnight in January 2007, we noted our worries about what North Korea's nuclear arsenal might portend for future arms races in Northeast Asia and for further unraveling of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
On March 9, later than expected, the British government published the motion that it wants the House of Commons to vote on March 14: "This House supports the government's decision as set out in the white paper, 'The Future of the United Kingdom's Nuclear Deterrent' (CM6994), to take the steps necessary to maintain the U.K. minimum strategic nuclear deterrent beyond the life of the existing system and to take further steps towards meeting the U.K.'s disarmament responsibilities under Article VI of the [Nuclear] Non-Proliferation Treaty."
On February 23, Greenpeace made waves when it joined Faslane 365 and blockaded the entrance to the Trident submarine base at Faslane, Scotland, with seven boats, including its climate-change research ship, Arctic Sunrise.