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"The whole problem of energy sources is going to be solved by little solutions, not by some big new piece of technology that does everything. We got into this crisis by believing that we had one big piece of technology that would do everything (oil)."
- Gregory Benford

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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