The Doomsday Clock: Ticking Closer to Midnight

The Doomsday Clock is a symbolic timepiece that represents how close the world is to ending. Created in 1947 by a group of atomic scientists, including Albert Einstein, the clock is updated annually by a non-profit organization called the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. This organization, based in Chicago, uses information regarding catastrophic risks to the planet and humanity to determine where to place the hands of the clock each year.

History of the Doomsday Clock

  • When the clock first started ticking in 1947, it was set at seven minutes to midnight. This represented the potential and likelihood of people doing something to end humanity. The clock was furthest from doomsday in 1991, when it was set at 17 minutes to midnight, following the end of the Cold War and the signing of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union.
  • However, in recent years, the clock has been moving closer to midnight. In 2020, it was set at 100 seconds to midnight, the closest it has ever been. Recently, on Tuesday, the Doomsday Clock was set at 90 seconds to midnight, again, the closest it has ever been to midnight.

Reasons for the Clock's Movement

  • The recent movement of the clock can be attributed to a number of factors, including the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the specter of nuclear weapon use. These events, along with a gathering of several existential threats, with Russian leader Vladimir Putin's actions and words chief among them, have led the organization to move the clock closer to midnight.

Other Threats to Humanity

  • The Doomsday Clock not only represents the potential for nuclear war, but also highlights other threats to humanity. These include nuclear weapon proliferation in China, Iran increasing its uranium enrichment, missile tests in North Korea, future pandemics from animal diseases, pathogens from lab mistakes, disruptive technologies, and worsening climate change. All of these factors contribute to the overall risk to the planet and humanity.


The Doomsday Clock serves as a warning that the situation is becoming more urgent and that crises are more likely to happen with broader consequences and longer-standing effects. The clock's movement should serve as a reminder for individuals, governments, and organizations to take action and address these existential threats before it is too late. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists emphasizes the importance of cooperation and collaboration in addressing these global challenges and urges leaders to take responsibility for their actions and the effects they have on the planet and humanity as a whole.

Written by IAS POINT

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