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Classical history:
1678: Christiaan Huygens hypothesises light as a wave phenomenon.
1704: Isaac Newton publishes 'Opticks' - he believed light comprised particles.
1801: Thomas Young's double slit interference experiment confirms light as a wave phenomenon.
1816: Augustine-Jean Fresnel proposes Huygens-Fresnel wavelets to describe interference & diffraction.
1860: James Maxwell identifies light as an electromagnetic (e/m) wave.
            Rayleigh, Kirchhoff, Sommerfeld develop scalar theory of diffraction of e/m waves.        

Quantum foundation:
1900: Max Planck quantises energy packets of e/m radiation to descibe emission from warm objects. 
1905: Albert Einstein invokes the photon of e/m radiation to descibe the photo-electric effect in metals.
1923: Arthur Compton assigns the photon momentum to descibe non-elastic scattering from electrons.
1927: Paul Dirac proposes quantisation of electromagnetic radiation fields.

Demonstrations of capabilities: