What is the Doomsday Clock?

The Doomsday Clock moves even closer to midnight due to the war in Ukraine

Stars Insider

11/11/23 | StarsInsider


The Doomsday Clock continues to inch closer to apocalypse over climate change and nuclear fears. The year 2023 has brought yet another dire warning issued by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists as the war in Ukraine increases the likelihood of nuclear weapons wreaking havoc. But what is the Doomsday Clock, and how is it read?

To summarize, the clock was developed by scientists to record the likelihood of mankind doing something that brings about the end of the world. The development of nuclear weapons and the rapid progression of climate change are two things that have moved the clock's hand closer to midnight, which in this case, marks Armageddon. On January 25, human rights advocates and scientists gathered for the annual announcement, during which the clock was moved 10 seconds closer to midnight, leaving us just 90 seconds away from doomsday. After the end of the Cold War, the clock was 17 minutes away from midnight, but in recent years, we've gone from counting down the minutes to counting down the seconds. 

The 2023 clock move came in response to Russia's attack on Ukraine and the imminent threat of nuclear war. “We are sending a message that the situation is becoming more urgent,” said Rachel Bronson, President of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. "Crises are more likely to happen and have broader consequences and longer standing effects.” Other threats to humanity mentioned at the event included "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."

Click through the gallery to learn more about the Doomsday Clock and how we've come so close to the end of the world. 

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