Rumours are circulating that the minute hand on the infamous Doomsday Clock may move closer to midnight indicating that we’re edging nearer towards global catastrophe.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists are due to host a live international news conference this Thursday where they say they have a “major announcement” to make.
The Doomsday Clock is a universally-recognized symbolic clock face, representing a countdown to possible political related global catastrophe (nuclear war or climate change). Sicnce 1947 it is maintained by members of the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. The closer the clock moves towards midnight – the closer towards the end of the world we are.
The minute hand hasn’t moved in three years. It was last pushed ahead one minute in 2012 from six to fives minutes before midnight. It is antipated that this Thursday the clock to move to four minutes before midnight.
The Daily Mail reports:
The conference will begin at 4pm GMT (11am EST) on 22 January 2015.
It is expected that key topics to be discussed at the event will include evidence of accelerating climate change, terrorism and nuclear modernisation.
The BAS was founded in 1945 by University of Chicago scientists who had helped develop the first atomic weapons in the Manhattan Project.
The physicists set up the Doomsday Clock in 1947 after their atomic bombs hit Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II.
Their Clock was created to convey threats to humanity and the planet. Midnight represents Doomsday, or when these threats will peak and cause a global catastrophe.
The decision to move the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock is made by the Bulletin’s Board of Directors in consultation with its Board of Sponsors, which includes 18 Nobel Laureates.
The Clock has become a universally recognised indicator of the world’s vulnerability to catastrophe from nuclear weapons, climate change, and emerging technologies in life sciences.
Since it was set up, the hand on the clock has moved 18 times, and each move represents how the scientists view the world’s chances of survival in the face of these threats.
Since 1947 the Doomsday Clock sat at seven minutes to midnight. Since then it has moved back and forth , closer and further away, from midnight based on events around the world.
The closest it ever came to midnight was in 1953 where it rested at two minutes to midnight. This was due to the US pursuing the hydrogen bomb – a weapon more powerful than any atomic bomb.
The safest we’ve ever been was in 1991 where the clock rested at seventeen minutes to midnight. This was due to the cold war officially ending and the US and Russia began cutting their nuclear arsenals.
Since then, however, it has gradually edged closer towards midnight indicating the world is becoming a less safer place for humans to live every year.