What is the Doomsday Clock and What Dangerous Time it Points to?

 In General

Doomsday Clock is an indicative clock which specifies how close we humans can get to destroying ourselves. On 27 January, 2017 it moved 30 seconds closer to midnight. Currently it is set to 2 1/2 minutes from midnight or the doom time!

Care to know what this is all about?

The Doomsday Clock is a globally famous and internationally recognized work. It simply indicates how close we can get to an apocalyptic event created because of our own acts. The closer it gets to striking midnight, the closer we are to a complete annihilation event.

Who Built the Doomsday Clock and Why?

The Doomsday Clock was created way back in 1947 by a board of scientists. This board is called the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, initially to warn against potential nuclear threats. These scientists were part of the Manhattan Project, the United States code name for atom bomb development project.

The scope of events threatening a major global catastrophe was increased gradually.

As of this day, the Doomsday Clock considers the following civilization-ending potential technologies while indicating time

  • Nuclear Weapons
  • Climate Change
  • Emerging Biotechnology
  • Cyber technology

A globally significant intentional, unintentional, calculated or misjudged event in all the above areas can result in a change in the clock timing. Thus, it is not a conventional time clock but a clock showing consequences of human actions.

Significant Changes in Doomsday Clock

In 1947, the clock was set to 7 minutes to midnight. But the first time it moved 3 minutes closer to midnight. This development followed the former Soviet Union’s testing of the first atom bombs marking the beginning of the nuclear arms race.

The highest time increase (added) was when the US and Russia decided to decided to cooperate on various issues and signed the Partial Test Ban Treaty. The clock moved back by 5 min signifying these positive changes in 1960 and 1963 respectively.

On the other hand, the clock moved closer to apocalyptic midnight event by 5 min on two occasions. First was in 1968, due to US invasion of Vietnam, Indo-Pak War, Third Arab-Israeli War, France and China’s nuclear weapons test.

Second biggest change indicating closer move to danger was in 1998. This was primarily due to India and Pakistan’s nuclear tests. Also, the US and Russia’s reduction in weapons stockpiles ran into a roadblock.

Why Doomsday Clock is News?

The Doomsday Clock was back in news on January 26, 2017 because it moved closer to doomsday indicating midnight by 30 seconds! This is the closest ever and the reasons cited for this change were –

  • US President Donald Trump’s loose comments on nuclear arms
  • Rise of loud and harsh nationalism across the globe
  • Dangerously alarming general security situation in the world

Finally know that Doomsday Clock is not merely an indicator of change of time for good or bad. It is also a kind of alarm. If humanity as a whole does not mend its ways, we can soon end ourselves. We have set off the alarm already!

So it is high time we wake up and save ourselves from ourselves!

Please also let us know what you make of the Doomsday Clock.

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