Thursday, January 14, 2010
The minute hand of the famous Doomsday Clock has been moved to six minutes to midnight - one minute further away from human annihilation than before.
The timepiece in New York conveys how close humanity is to catastrophic destruction, which is represented by midnight.
It is changed periodically by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists board, which includes Professor Stephen Hawking and 18 other Nobel scientists.
Doomsday Clock: Created in 1947 by concerned scientists - it will be changed once more today
It was wound on to five minutes to midnight in 2007 to reflect the failure to solve problems posed by nuclear weapons.
Today, the board said they moved it back one minute because there was a 'hopeful state of world affairs' in relation to nuclear weapons and climate change. They singled out President Obama for particular praise.
The decision to move the hand back may come as a surprise to many environmentalists, who criticised last year's Copenhagen Climate Change Conference for failing to reach any real consensus.
However, the BAS board insisted there had been 'signs of collaboration' between the major world players in dealing with nuclear security and climate stabilisation.
They said the 'first steps' to address climate change had been taken with the joint agreement by China and the United States to reduce carbon emissions in November 2009 and the Copenhagen Accord.
British physicist Stephen Hawking is a member of the Board of Sponsors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. He helps to decide when to move the hand on the Doomsday Clock
The Doomsday Clock was created in 1947, two years after the U.S dropped the first atomic bombs on Japan in World War II. It was originally set at seven minutes to midnight.
It has been altered 19 times since then by the Bulletin's scientific board.
The latest recorded time was two minutes to midnight in 1953 as the Cold War heated up between the U.S and Soviet Union.
The board said the end of a nuclear threat to the world could now be in sight.
'We are poised to bend the arc of history toward a world free of nuclear weapons.
'For the first time since atomic bombs were dropped in 1945, leaders of nuclear weapons states are cooperating to vastly reduce their arsenals.'
President Obama was particularly praised for causing 'a change in the U.S government's toward international affairs.'
'With a more pragmatic, problem-solving approach, not only has Obama initiated new arms reduction talks with Russia, he has started negotiations with Iran to close its nuclear enrichment program,' the board said.
Despite their positive mood, BAS co-chair Lawrence Krauss, said: 'Even though we are encourage by recent developments, we are mindful of the fact that the Clock is ticking.'
To watch the clock being altered go to the 'Turn Back The Clock' website
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1242823/Doomsday-clock-moved-worlds-scientists-today.html#ixzz0cbumoj15