What is the Doomsday Clock?

சஞ்சீவி சிவகுமார், CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

சஞ்சீவி சிவகுமார், CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Gerardo Perez, Reporter

The Doomsday Clock is a model design that warns the public about how close the end of the world is, for example dangerous technologies of our own making. It’s a reminder of the problems we must face if we are to survive on the planet.

The Doomsday Clock was created in 1947, the greatest danger to humanity came from nuclear weapons, specifically when the Cold War was taking place between the United States and the Soviet Union which were headed for a nuclear arms race. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists considers catastrophic consequences.

A scientist fluent in Russian, gathered with scientists and experts around the world. When he died in 1973, the Bulletin’s board took over the responsibility and has since met twice a year to discuss and reset the clock as necessary. Scientists and experts provide advice to governments and international agencies. 

Today the Doomsday clock’s current time is 100 seconds to midnight, the closest it has ever been. The COVID-19 pandemic spread around the world. In 2020 alone, this disease has killed over 5.46 million people worldwide and over 295 million cases. The pandemic revealed how unprepared and unwilling countries and the international system are to handle global emergencies.

 Governments ignored scientific advice, and failed to protect the health and welfare of their citizens. As a result, millions of human beings died needlessly. Even though it’s lethal on a massive scale, this particular pandemic is not an existential threat. The Doomsday clock gives a closer look at the probabilities and our problems we must face to survive.