Mission and History

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists engages science leaders, policy makers, and the interested public on the topics of nuclear risk, climate change, and disruptive technologies. We do this through our award-winning journal, iconic Doomsday Clock, public-access website, and regular set of convenings. With smart, vigorous prose, multimedia presentations, and information graphics, the Bulletin puts issues and events into context and provides fact-based debates and assessments. For more than 70 years, the Bulletin has bridged the technology divide between scientific research, foreign policy, and public engagement.

The Bulletin was founded in 1945 by Manhattan Project scientists who “could not remain aloof to the consequences of their work.” The organization’s early years chronicled the dawn of the nuclear age and the birth of the scientists’ movement, as told by the men and women who built the atomic bomb and then lobbied with both technical and humanist arguments for its abolition.

Today, the Bulletin is an independent, nonprofit 501 (c) (3) organization. With our international network of board members and experts, we assess scientific advancements that involve both benefits and risks to humanity, with the goal of influencing public policy to protect our planet and all its inhabitants.

The Bulletin’s website is a robust public and research-oriented source of detailed reports and cogent analysis from the scientists and experts who are directly involved. It receives an average of more than 230,000 visits per month. The bimonthly magazine, which can be found in more than 15,000 leading universities and institutions worldwide, attracts a large number of influential readers. About half of the Bulletin’s website and journal readers reside outside the United States. Half of the visitors to its website are under the age of 35.

The Bulletin’s signature strength is its capacity to synthesize and inform by linking critical issues, treaty negotiations, and scientific assessments to threats represented by the iconic Doomsday Clock. The Clock attracts more daily visitors to our site than any other feature, and commands worldwide attention when the Bulletin issues periodic assessments of global threats and solutions.

In 2007, the Bulletin won the National Magazine Award for General Excellence, the magazine industry equivalent of an Oscar for Best Picture. The Bulletin also was named one of four 2009 finalists for the Lumity Technology Leadership Award, presented by Accenture to a nonprofit organization that is effectively applying innovative technologies. Today, the Bulletin supplements its cutting-edge journalism with interactive infographics and videos and amplifies its message through social media platforms.

To advance the Bulletin as a thriving public forum over the next 70 years, we are opening more channels between scientific and policy leaders as we increase our outreach to supporters all over the world. Two partnerships are key to these efforts—one with the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy and the other with Taylor & Francis Online, publisher of our digital journal since January 2016.

To learn more, read David Kaiser and Benjamin Wilson's article, "American scientists as public citizens: 70 years of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists," in the 70th anniversary issue of our digital magazine at Taylor & Francis Online.