CHICAGO, IL. December 3, 2020 – A week from today, one of the most influential publications in the world, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, will mark its 75th anniversary. Thriving as never before and expanding into a range of multi-media platforms, the Bulletin remains true to its mission: 75 years of bringing attention to evidence-based journalism and actionable ideas around the man-made threats of nuclear weapons, climate change, and disruptive technologies.
Reflecting its rich history of speaking knowledge to power, the Bulletin is releasing on December 7, 2020 a 75th anniversary issue that pulls together some of the most important articles that have appeared in its pages, including such authors as Albert Einstein, Edward Teller, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Bertrand Russell, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Fiona Hill.
The 75th anniversary issue also looks at what lies ahead for nuclear arms reduction, climate change challenges, and the threat of such disruptive technologies as gene editing and “ultra-targeted biological weapons.” The anniversary issue also includes interviews with Nobel laureates Jennifer Doudna and Beatrice Fihn. The issue will be free-access for two months.
Rachel Bronson, president and CEO, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, said: “Our mission is to equip the public, policymakers, and scientists with the information needed to reduce man-made threats to our very existence. That happens because the Bulletin elevates expert voices above the noise. We deliver quality journalism that holds leaders accountable. We seek every day to ensure that our coverage will be understandable, influential, vigilant, solution-oriented, and fair-minded.”
John Mecklin, editor-in-chief, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, said: “Many publications that were staples of American life 75 years ago are either long gone or only a pale shadow of their former selves. But the story of the Bulletin has been exactly the opposite. In addition to our original focus on the threat of nuclear war, the Bulletin also now shapes the cutting edge of thought about reducing the dangers posed by climate change and a host of disruptive technologies, including the online venues that spread disinformation and erode public faith in science and democracy. Because of its focus on 21st century challenges, the Bulletin is more widely read and closely watched than ever before.”
Perhaps best known for its annual resetting of the Doomsday Clock in January of each year, the Bulletin maintains a free-access website and a subscription-based, online bi-monthly magazine that are intended to be accessible to lawmakers and the general public, not just academics and technicians.
The Bulletin began as an emergency action, created by scientists who saw an immediate need for a public reckoning in the aftermath of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
One mission was to urge fellow scientists to help shape national and international policy. A second mission was to help the public understand what the bombings meant for humanity. The Manhattan Project scientists knew that, for the first time, humans possessed the ability to spark Armageddon and end civilization, and they wanted to warn government leaders and ordinary citizens alike of the global danger inherent in these new weapons, in hopes of fostering what Einstein called “a new way of thinking that might stave off a final and radioactive catastrophe.”
Foreshadowing the expanded focus of the Bulletin over time to include climate change and disruptive technologies, the scientists behind the Bulletin anticipated correctly that the atom bomb would be “only the first of many dangerous presents from the Pandora’s Box of modern science.”
Known originally as the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists of Chicago, the publication changed its name to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in 1947.
On November 12th, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists held a 75th anniversary dinner online to toast the milestone anniversary.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is grateful for major support received from Carnegie Corporation of New York, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Ploughshares Fund, and Mary Patricia Dougherty.