Doomsday Clock Gets Real?

We are headed to certain death, sort of.


Mike Rez

1/25/20231 min read

The Doomsday Clock has been moved to 90 seconds before midnight and all of you are acting like it's not a big deal! Is it though? That depends on your level of worry and how much you want your anxiety to rise.

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists have set the hands of the Doomsday Clock to the closest it has ever been to midnight. On January 24th, during the most ominous sounding announcement I have ever heard when it comes to clocks that are a metaphor for certain death, the Bulletin unveiled the clock with the hands slightly closer to midnight than ever before. The previous setting was 100 seconds to midnight. Did you even know we were that close to eradication?

What is the Doomsday Clock and when did it start? Great question. The fear all started in 1947 when the decided that we had not worried about anything since the end of World War II. The clock is designed to warn us how close we are to destroying our world with technologies that we as humans have created. At the time the clock was created, the greatest threat was from the prospect of a nuclear arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union. In 2007, the Bulletin started to consider climate change as another factor in setting the clock.

The first time that the clock was set at was seven minutes to midnight. The original time came from an artists rendering of what the clock would look like. The artist, Martyl Langsdorf, decided on the time because, she said, "It looked good to my eye.".

The first time the hands of the clock first moved was in 1949. The Soviet Union tested its first atomic bomb. The hands moved from seven minutes to three minutes before midnight. Since then, the clock has been moved forwards and backwards 24 more times. The furthest from midnight it has been set was 17 minutes from midnight back in 1991. As stated above, January 24th, 2023, is the closest we have been to midnight at 90 seconds.

If you are so inclined to see the metaphor of death, you can see it in person at the Bulletin offices at the University of Chicago. It is in the lobby. Make sure you are smiling in any selfies you take with it.