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New MSI Exhibit Explores 70 Years Of The All-Too-Relevant Doomsday Clock

By Stephen Gossett in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 22, 2017 8:00PM

The Doomsday Clock remains stubbornly, scarily relevant even 70 years after it originated. A visual metaphor for the potential of nuclear and climate catastrophe, the Clock saw renewed attention this past January, when it creeped closer to midnight—just two and a half minutes shy—than it had been in decades, thanks part to Donald Trump's rhetoric. But the fascinating life of the Chicago-birthed Clock stretches long back before the age of Trump; and you can explore that history in a new exhibit, Turn Back the Clock, at the Museum of Science and Industry.

The exhibit stretches back to the rise of the atomic age, when the clock was conceived in 1947. It was developed by the group of researchers who set off the first controlled nuclear reaction, underneath the University of Chicago's Stagg Field bleachers. The exhibit, designed by Luci Creative, even includes the 1947 issue of "The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists," where the Doomsday Clock first appeared. Turn Back the Clock also explores contemporary existential issues (which sadly seem to be compounding) plus the role that technology can play in ameliorating those challenges.

"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," said Rachel Bronson, executive director of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the panel of scientists and political science experts that determine the Clock's hand placement each year.

Indeed, hopefully it'll help us roll back the clock in more ways than one.

Turn Back the Clock runs through early 2018. The exhibit is included in Museum Entry ($18 for adults, $11 for kids ages 3-11). Tickets are available here.