The Doomsday Clock was
introduced in 1947 [GALLO/GETTY]
The doomsday clock was set up by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists in 1947 with midnight representing the time of nuclear disaster.

It was set at seven minutes from the witching hour and has been moved 17 times since either forward or backward depending on the threat of nuclear war or destruction.

1949 Moved forward four minutes to three minutes to midnight after the Soviet Union tests its first atomic bomb.

1953 The clock reaches its closest time to midnight after it is moved forward one minute to two minutes to midnight as the US and the Soviet Union both tests hydrogen bombs within nine months of each other.

1960 Moved back five minutes to seven minutes to midnight reflecting a public understanding of the dangers of nuclear weapons.

1963 Moved back five minutes to 12 minutes to midnight when the US and Soviet Union sign a partial test ban treaty.

1968 Moved forward five minutes to seven minutes to midnight after a period of sustained wars in the Middle East and Vietnam and the acquisition of nuclear weapons by France and China.

1969 Moved back three minutes to 10 minutes to midnight after the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty is ratified.

1972 Moved back two minutes to 12 minutes to midnight after treaties are signed on strategic arms limitation and anti-ballistic missiles.

1974 Moved forward three minutes to nine minutes to midnight as India tests a nuclear weapon.

1980 Moved two minutes closer to seven minutes to midnight after several years that see rising nationalism and terrorism and a break in talks between the Cold war superpowers.

1981 Moved forward three minutes to four minutes to midnight as the arms race escalates.

1984 Moved forward one minute to three minutes to midnight as the arms race shows no letting up.

1988 Moved back three minutes to six minutes to midnight after the US and USSR improve relations.

1990 Moved back four minutes to 10 minutes to midnight after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Communism in eastern Europe.

1991 Moved back seven minutes to its furthest distance from midnight yet, seventeen minutes to midnight, after the Strategic Arms reduction treaty is signed.

1995 Moved forward three minutes to 14 minutes to midnight as military spending continues at Cold War levels and there are concerns about the spread of brainpower and nuclear capabilities from the former Soviet Union.

1998 Moved forward five minutes to nine minutes to midnight after India and Pakistan exchange nuclear tests amid rising regional tensions and the US and Russia are unable to satisfactorily reduce their nuclear stockpiles.

2002 Moved forward to seven minutes to midnight as the bulletin cites little progress on global nuclear disarmament.

2007 Bulletin of Atomic Scientists announces a change to the clock, giving fears of the "second nuclear age" as reasons for the move.

Source: Al Jazeera