Scientists to reset Doomsday Clock
Asian nuclear tests bring 'midnight' closerJune 11, 1998
Web posted at: 10:05 a.m. EDT (1405 GMT) In this story:
CHICAGO (CNN) -- Worried by recent nuclear test explosions in India and Pakistan, the keepers of the Doomsday Clock -- a symbolic measure of how close humankind is to destroying itself -- are expected on Thursday to move the clock's hands closer to midnight, the moment of doomsday's arrival.
Currently, the clock reads 14 minutes until midnight.
The announcement will be made later in the day by officials from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a Chicago-based publication that has been tracking the world's slide toward nuclear confrontation since 1947.
A L S O :
Timeline of the Doomsday clock movement
The Doomsday Clock update will be posted simultaneously on the organization's Web site.
Mike Moore, editor of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, would not reveal in what direction the clock's hands would be moved on Thursday.
But in an interview with CNN he said the organization has been monitoring the underground nuclear test explosions conducted last month by both India and neighboring Pakistan. 145K/12 sec. AIFF or WAV sound
In 1947 -- two years after the United States used nuclear weapons against Japan in World War II -- the Doomsday Clock was set at seven minutes to midnight.
Since then, the clock has been moved both forward and backward, 15 times in all, reflecting international tensions and the developments of the nuclear age.
The closest it ever came to "doomsday" was in 1953, not long after both the United States and the Soviet Union both tested hydrogen bombs. In that year, the clock read two minutes until midnight.
The nuclear scientists were breathing just a little easier by 1991 when the clock was pushed back to its farthest point so far -- 17 minutes until midnight -- because the United States and the Soviet Union signed the long-stalled Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) and announced further unilateral cuts in tactical and strategic nuclear weapons.
The adjustment to the current setting -- 14 minutes until midnight -- was made in 1995 for a variety of reasons, including:
The Doomsday Clock first began ticking beneath a monument at the University of Chicago where nuclear energy was born in 1941 during the Manhattan Project.
The atomic scientists who founded the Bulletin -- and created the clock -- did so in hopes of ensuring that nuclear weapons were never again used in war.
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