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
Lynn EdenRobert RosnerRod EwingLawrence M. KraussSivan KarthaThomas R. PickeringRaymond T. PierrehumbertRamamurti RajaramanJennifer SimsRichard C. J. SomervilleSharon SquassoniDavid Titley
In keeping the hands of the Doomsday Clock at three minutes to midnight, the members of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Science and Security Board mean to make a clear statement: The world situation remains highly threatening to humanity, and decisive action to reduce the danger posed by nuclear weapons and climate change is urgently required.
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.
If they participate in military cyberoperations—intentionally or not—could employees at Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft, and many other tech firms be considered “civilians directly participating in hostilities” and therefore legitimate targets of war?
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.
In the classic film Dr. Strangelove, Brig. Gen. Jack D. Ripper was the ultimate insider threat. As the nuclear-armed B-52s that Ripper unilaterally dispatched proceeded toward their Soviet targets, the American president confronted Air Force Gen. Buck Turgidson in exasperation: "When you instituted the human reliability tests, you assured me there was no possibility of such a thing ever occurring." To which Turgidson replied, "Well, I don't think it's quite fair to condemn a whole program because of a single slip-up, sir."
As the lame-duck Congress wraps up business, a serious debate is unfolding over the future of the US nuclear weapons complex. For the first time since the end of World War II, the long-held policy that places control of the design and production of nuclear weapons in civilian hands may be up for grabs. At issue: What is to be done with the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), now located inside the US Department of Energy?
The recognition of the need for nuclear disarmament and the question of how to achieve it are as old as the nuclear age. In June 1945, before the first nuclear weapon had been built, in what became known as the Franck Report, a group of scientists working on the U.S. atomic bomb program warned that:
On January 15, the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed by former secretaries of state George Shultz and Henry Kissinger, former Defense Secretary William Perry, and former Georgia Democratic Sen. Sam Nunn, which 37 other national security experts also endorsed. Entitled "Toward A Nuclear-Free World," it was the second such essay in the Journal by these authors in as many years.