Doomsday Clock at three minutes to midnight


The Doomsday Clock symbolizes how close mankind is to destroying itself. Currently the clock stands at three minutes to midnight, unchanged from last year.

Nuclear scientists, who manage the clock, say that the Paris climate summit and the nuclear deal with Iran have affected the clock in a positive way, while North Korea's nuclear tests and conflicts  in Syria and Ukraine have had a negative effect.

The Doomsday Clock was created after World War II by a group of nuclear scientists who  developed the atomic bomb during the Manhattan Project. They designed the clock to show the public how close we were getting to total destruction.


At the beginning the clock was set to seven minutes to midnight. During the 1950s, when the US and the Soviet Union  started developing hydrogen bombs, the clock was at two minutes to midnight, the closest it has ever come to the final mark.

At the end of the Cold War the Doomsday Clock was set back to 17 minutes to midnight, the farthest away from total destruction that it has ever been.

In the past decades scientists have moved the clock back and forward , depending on the political situation around the world and how the two superpowers got on with each other. At the moment, tensions between the US and Russia are rather high. Scientists are also worried about America's decision to modernize its nuclear weapons arsenal.

Scientists suggest that the best way to move the clock backwards is to reduce spending on nuclear weapons and combat global warming effectively.


Doomsday clock



Related Topics




  • affect = to have an influence on or change something
  • arsenal = collection of weapons
  • combat = fight against
  • currently = at the moment
  • deal = agreement
  • decade = ten years
  • depending on = to be decided by or changed according to something
  • develop = create
  • destroy = damage completely, so that nothing is left over
  • final mark = here: the end
  • hydrogen bomb = very powerful nuclear bomb
  • mankind = people in general
  • modernize = make more modern
  • nuclear= here: people who know a lot about splitting atoms to make bombs or get energy
  • public = people in general
  • reduce = make lower
  • scientist = person who is trained in science and works in a lab
  • Soviet Union = Communist country that existed between 1922 and 1991
  • summit = meeting
  • symbolize = to be a symbol of something
  • tension = feeling or being worried or nervous
  • total = complete
  • weapons = objects you use to fight with in a war