Doomsday Clock is moving closer to midnight, amid an increased risk of nuclear escalation

According to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the clock is a metaphor for humanity’s nearness to self-annihilation.

The “Doomsday Clock”, symbolizing the perils of humanity, moved closer to midnight Tuesday in the midst of the Ukraine war and nuclear tensions.

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists describes the clock as “a metaphor for how close humanity is towards self-annihilation.” It moved from 100 to midnight to 90 seconds.

Each year, the Bulletin’s science-security board and its board sponsors make a decision to reset the symbolic clock. This includes 11 Nobel laureates.

In January 2020, the hands of the clock moved to 100 seconds to midnight. This was the closest to midnight in the clock’s history and it stayed there for the next two decades.

Russian invasion is largely responsible

The Bulletin stated that it was moving the clock forward this year due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as well as the increased risk of nuclear escalation.

It added that “The new clock time was also affected by continuing threats posed due to the climate crisis, the breakdown of global norms &  institutions needed to mitigate risks associated with advancing technologies and biological threats such as Covid-19,” it added.

The original clock time was set at 7:01 p.m.

It has been 17 minutes since midnight, after the 1991 end of the Cold War.

Albert Einstein, J. Robert Oppenheimer, and other scientists involved in the Manhattan Project that produced the first nuclear weapons were the founders of the Bulletin.

In 1947, the idea of the clock as a symbol of global vulnerability to a disaster was introduced.

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