The metaphorical Doomsday Clock, a design tool used to symbolize how close humans are to extinction, has moved closer to midnight, signaling greater risks of nuclear war and other disasters that threaten life on Earth. It is basically largely a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Largely, though not exclusively, because of the mounting dangers in the war in Ukraine, “told Rachel Bronson, the president and CEO of the Bulletin, said the clock had been moved forward from 100 seconds to midnight, where it had been for the previous three years.
The hands of the clock are moved closer to or further away from midnight based on the scientists’ reading of existential threats at a particular time. The hands of the clock are set each year by the Bulletin’s science and security board with the support of its board of sponsors, which includes 10 Nobel laureates.
“We are living in a time of unprecedented danger, and the Doomsday Clock time reflects that reality. Ninety seconds to midnight is the closest the clock has ever been set to midnight, and it’s a decision our experts do not take lightly,” Bronson said.
“Putin has given no indication that he’s willing to accept defeat,” said Dr. Steven Fetter, a professor at the University of Maryland and a nuclear-threat expert. “But even if nuclear use is avoided in Ukraine, the war has challenged the nuclear order, the system of agreements and understandings that had been constructed over six decades to limit the dangers of nuclear weapons.”
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists was founded in 1945 by the late physicist and Nobel laureate Albert Einstein, as well as scientists who worked on the Manhattan Project to build the first atomic bomb. The first clock was unveiled in 1947.
The clock started ticking, more than 75 years ago, at seven minutes to midnight. At 17 minutes to midnight, the clock was furthest from doomsday in 1991, as the Cold War ended and the United States and Soviet Union signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty that substantially reduced both countries’ nuclear weapons arsenals.
But this is a time of unprecedented danger: It is 90 seconds to midnight.