The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago’s (MSI) new temporary exhibit, Turn Back the Clock, explores the history and enduring relevance of “The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’” iconic Doomsday clock, one of the most important and provocative symbols of the 20th century. Within the exhibit, guests will find the Clock’s 70-year history woven into three distinct parts: the dawn of the nuclear age, how the Clock serves as a metaphor for the global challenges we face today, and the potential applications of 21st century emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence and new biotechnologies.
“We believe this exhibit is a dynamic way to tell—and show—our guests not only how scientific discoveries and application have continuously had an impact on our world, but also the importance of active dialogue as a result of those discoveries,” said Dr. Patricia Ward, director of science exhibitions at the Museum of Science and Industry. “While the gravity of the Clock’s influential factors are sobering, we want guests to understand that agency, communication and collaboration among scientists, policy makers and ordinary citizens can help and has helped to set the Clock further away from midnight. We look forward to the conversations this exhibit will undoubtedly create.”
Turn Back the Clock was created in partnership with the “The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists”, based at the University of Chicago, and reflects the importance of ongoing public awareness and engagement in the critical issues captured in the movement of the Clock’s minute hand. The Doomsday Clock, a symbol created by this group of scientists and policy experts, indicates and assesses existential risks to society, with a particular focus on nuclear risk and climate change. In January 2017, the Clock’s move forward to two-and-a-half minutes to midnight captured global attention, further emphasizing why this symbol matters now more than ever.
“We are delighted to partner with MSI to debut Turn Back the Clock, which marks the Clock’s 70th anniversary,” said Rachel Bronson, executive director, the “Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.” “We hope that by bringing the story of the Clock and the ‘Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ to life in such a dynamic way, people will be motivated to use their distinct voices and talents to create a safer and healthier planet, much as our predecessors tried to do.”