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"There was a time when one old eccentric guy with a notebook could do something important to science. Now even the resources of a major university are often not enough."
- Jerry Pournelle

Atomic Blast Weapon  
  Reduces the target to atoms.  

Squinting expertly through the sights of his atomic blast weapon, he pressed the lanyard. Flame lanced out dazzlingly in the void.

In a magnificent blaze of exploding atoms, the Space Patrol Ship was torn apart. This was the latest of Vince Southern's misdeeds.

"That's that," he chuckled wickedly; "Nobody else will be trying to catch me for a while at least..."

From The Achilles Heel, by Raymond Z. Gallun.
Published by Amazing Stories in 1940
Additional resources -

Compare to the blaster from When the Green Star Waned (1925) by Nictzin Dyalhis, the stationary automatic blaster from Red Planet (1949) by Robert Heinlein and the neutron disruption blaster from The Complete Paratime (1951) by H. Beam Piper.

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