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The theories listed below are only a few of the numerous theories created by many different scientists to explain the nature of light. These four theories are the major and most konwn theories of the vast collection of theories about the nature of light.

The Corpuscular Theory

--- Created in the seventeenth century by Sir Isaac Newton

--- States that light emitted by luminous objects consist of tiny particles of matter called corpuscles. When corpuscles hit a surface, each partice is reflected.
--- Thought that light traveling from air into water will increase the speed, while light entering water will decrease the speed.

The Wave Theory

--- Discovered by Christian Huygens, a Dutch scientist, also in the seventeenth century

--- States that light is emitted in a series of waves that spread out from a light source in all directions. These waves are not affected by gravity.
--- Furthermore, he disagreed with Newton and said that light traveling from air to water will decrease the speed, and vice versa. Huygens was proved later to be correct.

--- 100 years later, Englishman Thomas Young competely disproved the corpuscular theory by showing that light waves can interfere with each other.

The Electromagnetic Theory

--- Discovered in the nineteenth century by James Maxwell

--- Proposed that light waves do not require a medium for transmission.
--- Light waves posses electrical and magnetic properties and can travel though a vacuum. Light waves are a part of a larger family of electromagnetic waves and make up the electromagnetic spectrum.

The Quantum Theory

--- Discovered by Max Planck, German scientist in 1900

--- Stated that light waves travel as separate packets of energy called quanta or photons. --- Merged the subjects of the Corpuscular, Wave, and Electromagnetic Theories together.

Later, it was proved that the correct and most accurate theory was the Quantum Theory.






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