The idea of a technological civilization re-engineering its planetary system in pursuit of energy goes back to science fiction stories of the 1930's. But the term 'Dyson sphere' is what sticks with us, and it has its origins in a paper written by Freeman Dyson in 1960.

The paper, published in Science, has the moderately innocent sounding title of "Search for Artificial Stellar Sources of Infrared Radiation". But you only have to read the Abstract to catch a whiff of the marvelous piece of inventive, but grounded speculation that unfurls in this single page article.

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