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Ninety Seconds to Midnight: Nuclear Dangers in the 21st Century
4:00PM - 5:00PM ET


The Doomsday Clock, a measure of how close humanity is to destroying itself, implies that we are closer to apocalypse than ever before. Russian nuclear threats continue in Ukraine, with a nuclear power plant trapped in the war zone. The suspension of New START and growing civilian stockpiles of plutonium are additional stressors. Meanwhile, great powers continue to expand and modernize their nuclear arsenals, further raising the stakes. The impacts of a nuclear accident, meltdown, or attack will reverberate around the world, undermining our societal foundations.   

With so much at stake, can nuclear threats be deescalated? At a time of rising tension and competition, how might the world reduce risk and increase the trust needed to avert nuclear catastrophe? Can the Doomsday Clock be unwound? Join us as Penn alumna Rachel Bronson, President and Chief Executive Officer at the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, and Joan Rohlfing, President and Chief Operating Officer of the Nuclear Threat Initiative discuss these urgent issues as part of the Perry World House 2023 Global Order Colloquium, A New Age of Nuclearity? Great Powers and Greater Consequences.  


Rachel Bronson is the president and CEO of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. She oversees the publishing programs, management of the Doomsday Clock, and a growing set of activities around nuclear risk, climate change, and disruptive technologies. Before joining the Bulletin, Bronson served as the vice president of studies at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. She also taught “Global Energy” as an adjunct professor at the Kellogg School of Management.  

Joan Rohlfing is President and Chief Operating Officer of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI). Prior to joining NTI, Rohlfing held senior positions with the U.S. Department of Energy and worked in New Delhi as an advisor to the U.S. Ambassador to India, in the wake of nuclear tests in India and Pakistan.  Earlier, she worked as a professional staff member of the House Armed Services Committee where she oversaw nuclear programs of the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy’s national security programs.  Rohlfing began her career in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, where she was awarded a Presidential Management Internship, and later worked in the Office of Strategic Forces Policy.


Bryan Bender, Vice President for Communications Strategy at Strategic Marketing Innovations, is an experienced journalist and communicator with an extensive network in the national security and foreign policy communities, think tanks, trade associations and the private sector. Bender brings more than two decades of experience covering the defense budget, government acquisition, climate security, nuclear arms control, and the aerospace, shipbuilding and tech industries. As Washington Bureau Chief for Jane’s Defense Weekly and an award-winning Pentagon correspondent for the Boston Globe, Bryan reported on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and military operations around the world. Most recently, he was senior national correspondent for POLITICO and defense editor of POLITICO Pro, where his beat included NASA, the Space Force, and the commercial space industry —- and he anchored the must-read newsletter Morning Defense.