January 23, 2020

Wait Just a Minute: Rachel Bronson on the Doomsday Clock

The Doomsday Clock is now 100 seconds to midnight, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announced this morning. In this episode, Rachel Bronson, president and CEO of the Bulletin, takes a minute to explain how the Doomsday Clock works, examine if nuclear weapons make the world safer, and recommend her favorite movie involving nuclear warfare.

Wait Just a Minute: Rachel Bronson on the Doomsday Clock

What is the Doomsday Clock?

The Doomsday Clock is set by the Bulletin of the the Atomic Scientists every year, and it's an indication about how close we are to ending humanity through man-made threats. We focus on climate change and nuclear risks, and lately, increasingly, disruptive technologies.

Do nuclear weapons make the world safer?

No, and the more nuclear weapons we have, the greater the likelihood that we have an accident. But it's also very dangerous to have no nuclear weapons if one country has one of them.

What nuclear threat concerns you the most?

I am most concerned about accidents and misperceptions leading inadvertently to a nuclear exchange.

How hard is it to build a nuclear weapon?

The hardest part about building a nuclear weapon today is not necessarily the know-how, although that is difficult, but it is acquiring the materials needed to actually build the weapon. Especially because the international community has been trying to hold back the materials required to build one.

What's your favorite movie involving nuclear warfare?

I think everyone would probably have to say "Dr. Strangelove." But if you're gonna watch a second, I'd recommend Eric Schlosser's "Command and Control."

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