In 1947 the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists unveiled the Doomsday Clock. As the Cold War was taking off and the Superpowers were engaged in a nuclear weapons race, the Doomsday Clock was designed to convey to the public and world political leaders the urgency of the dangers that nuclear weapons presented. When it first appeared on the cover of the magazine the clock's hands were set at 7 minutes to midnight.
On January 17, 2007, the Bulletin announced that it was moving the Doomsday Clock two minutes closer to midnight, setting the hands at 5 minutes to midnight. With the U.S. and Russia still ready to launch 2000 nuclear weapons in minutes, concerns about North Korea and Iran, and the threats posed by climate change, the Bulletin's Board of Directors and Board of Sponsors (which includes 18 Nobel Laureates) stated that, "We stand at the brink of a second nuclear age."
Three years later, on Thursday, January 14, 2010, The Bulletin is poised to reset the Doomsday Clock once again. This is the big time folks! Forget the Super bowl. Forget the Academy Awards. This is the BIG event for those of us concerned with nuclear weapons. The Bulletin is a trusted source for rational, scientifically based information and opinion on nuclear weapons, and the Doomsday Clock has always been a barometer - a sort of State of the Nukes - for nuclear abolitionists.
As for predictions whether the minute hand will move farther or closer to midnight, let's just say that if I were a betting person, I would be putting my money on 3 minutes to midnight. That being said, we can count on sound reasoning coming out of the folks at The Bulletin.
Be sure to tune in on Thursday, January 14th at 10:00 AM, Eastern Standard Time (of 3:00 PM GMT for European readers) for the live streaming of the event from the New York Academy of Sciences. You can click on the screen below, or go to http://www.turnbacktheclock.org/.
DOOMSDAY CLOCK ANNOUNCEMENT from TurnBackTheClock.org on Vimeo.
Whether the hands of time will give us an apparent bit of breathing room or create more urgency, we know that the success of the struggle for nuclear abolition is critical to the future of humankind. It continues to be up to all of us in this movement to do our part, and to keep the pressure on our governments, particularly as we approach the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in the Spring of 2010.
Let us continue to work hard in 2010 to help prevent the clock from ever striking the midnight hour.
Click here to read the January, 2007 announcement that moved the clock to 5 minutes to midnight.
Click here to read the Doomsday Clock timeline.
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