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"I can remember when the first pulsars were discovered. I was able to go and sit down and listen to graduate students talking about what their theories, to explain what pulsars really were."
- Vernor Vinge

Radioactive Ruin  
  The aftermath of atomic war is generations of ruin.  

This is, as far as I know, the first reference to the radioactive ruin that would follow upon the use of atomic weapons.

In the map of nearly every country of the world three or four or more red circles, a score of miles in diameter, mark the position of the dying atomic bombs and the death areas that men have been forced to abandon around them. Within these areas perished museums, cathedrals, palaces, libraries, galleries of masterpieces, and a vast accumulation of human achievement, whose charred remains lie buried, a legacy of curious material that only future generations may hope to examine....
From The World Set Free, by H.G. Wells.
Published by Not Known in 1914
Additional resources -

Note the reference to the idea of "death areas" that must be abandoned by human beings.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The World Set Free
  More Ideas and Technology by H.G. Wells
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  Tech news articles related to works by H.G. Wells

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