Martyl Langsdorf / Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Doomsday Clock and editions of the Bulletin
Wood, MDF, framed magazine covers, and framed poster

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists started as a publication in 1945, the year two atomic bombs were dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was founded by Manhattan Project scientists who saw an immediate need for a public reckoning. In 1947, Martyl Langsdorf created a clock for the first artistically designed cover of the magazine to convey the urgent threat of atomic weapons. She set the time of what has come to be known colloquially as “The Doomsday Clock” at seven minutes to midnight to represent the needed urgency of action. Today, the Clock represents how close we are to ending life on Earth as we know it and includes threats posed by nuclear risk, climate change, and new disruptive technologies as assessed by the Bulletin’s Science and Security Board. In 2020, the Clock was set to 100 seconds to midnight, the closest to midnight in its history—a “wake-up call” to the planet’s instability. This version of the Clock, used for the Bulletin’s annual meeting and public announcement, was designed by Michael Bierut in 2007.

More about the Bulletin and the Doomsday Clock can be found here.

Courtesy of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.