This classification of civilizations is based on the ability of the civilization to manipulate their physical environment. The most effective measure of this manipulation is in the form(s) of energy employed by the civilization. Freeman Dyson was a late Twentieth-early-Twenty-first Century astronomer. He was a tenured professor of astrophysics at Princeton University’s Institute for Advanced Physical Studies, a post in which Albert Einstein preceded him. He gained notoriety in the science fiction of the period with the popular misinterpretation by writers of the Type 2 civilization which they characterized as a Dyson Sphere.
Dyson classified advanced civilizations to a four tier system: Dyson Type 0 through Dyson Type 3.
- Dyson Type 0 – a civilization limited to planetary energy sources – e.g., solar, wind, water, nuclear, fossil fuels – and with minimal or no ability to control weather, geologic activity, etc.
- Dyson Type 1 – a civilization limited to planetary energy sources, but has mastered fusion, meterologic, and geologic activity.
- Dyson Type 2 – a civilization that utilizes the total energy output of a star and/or has the ability to control or manipulate asterologic activity of a planetary system, e.g., relocate planetary objects, ignite gas giant planets into brown dwarfs, etc.
- Dyson Type 3 – a civilization that utilizes the total energy output of a galaxy and/or has the ability to control or manipulate asterologic activity of a galaxy.