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"There's no point in making a mistake unless you understand the mistake so that you don’t make it again."
- Alfred Bester

Atomics  
  The field of nuclear energy.  

First use in sf, but the word was used in science journals at least twenty years earlier.

"Jenkins, what's all this Isotope R business, anyway?"

"R's one of the big maybe problems of atomics. Purely theoretical, and none's been made yet—it's either impossible or can't be done in small control batches, safe for testing. That's the trouble, as I said; nobody knows anything about it, except that—if it can exist—it'll break down in a fairly short time into Mahler's Isotope. You've heard of that?"

From Nerves, by Lester del Rey.
Published by Astounding Science Fiction in 1942
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