The hypothetical Doomsday Clock was introduced in 1947, making its first appearance as an illustration on the cover of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a journal published by science and policy experts who assess scientific advancement and risk. When it was first introduced, the Doomsday Clock was set at 7 minutes to midnight, but it has been reset 23 times over the years, depending on world events. In January 2018, the clock was reset to 2 minutes to midnight, meaning that, at least in some scientists' view, the world is symbolically 30 seconds closer to possible Armageddon than it was a year ago.
- The last time humanity was this close to hypothetical annihilation, it was 1953 and the United States and the Soviet Union were engaged in the Cold War.
- In 1991, with the end of the Cold War and initiatives in the U.S. and Russia to reduce nuclear arsenals, the clock made its biggest jump backward, landing at 17 minutes to midnight.
- Today’s threats include North Korean nuclear aggression, unrest in the Middle East, and a lack of arms control agreements among superpowers -- plus the reality of an ever-worsening global climate.