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Ask the Experts

YOU ASK, WE ANSWER

WHO DEVISED THE DOOMSDAY CLOCK?

When Martyl Langsdorf, the wife of one of the Manhattan Project physicists, was asked to design the cover for the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists in 1947, she chose a clock. It was to warn of the dangers of nuclear war and to convey a “sense of urgency”, she said. Tat clock has since become a powerful symbol of how close humankind is to global catastrophe. Originally set to seven minutes to midnight, it has changed more than 20 times, with the safest time (17 minutes to midnight) coming in 1991 after the end of the Cold War and the signing of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty The closest it has got is two minutes to midnight, which came after nuclear tests in the 1950s – and where it is now due to the threat of climate change.

DOOMSDAY SCENARIO Nuclear testing during the 1950s put the clock closer to midnight than ever before
GETTY IMAGES X2

DID YOU KNOW?

NO TIME FOR A CRISIS

Despite the Cuban Missile Crisis bringing the world to the brink of nuclear war in 1962, the Doomsday Clock didn’t change from seven minutes to midnight. Two reasons have been o!ered: that the crisis only lasted a few weeks, and that valuable lessons were learned from it.

Where was Alexander the Great buried?

Like Genghis Khan and Cleopatra, the legacy of Alexander the Great has survived the ages – even if the whereabouts of his final resting place has not. The King of Macedon and empire-builder was on his way home from his undefeated campaign of conquest in 323 BC when he died, aged 32, in Babylon.

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About BBC History Revealed

Few stories can match that of the end of the Incas, when the largest empire in the pre-Columbian Americas was defeated thanks to deceit and double-crossing. How did thousands of experienced Inca warriors fail to repel just 170 Spaniards? Plus: the CIA’s mind-boggling PsyOps experiments, the 75th anniversary of the Normandy landings, the origins and accuracy of the Bible, wacky races, jousting and much more