This paper examines two controversies arising within classical electromagnetism which are relevant to the optical
trapping and micromanipulation community. First is the Abraham-Minkowski controversy, a debate relating
to the form of the electromagnetic energy-momentum tensor in dielectric materials, with implications for the
momentum of a photon in dielectric media. A wide range of alternatives exist, and experiments are frequently
proposed to attempt to discriminate between them. We explain the resolution of this controversy and show that
regardless of the electromagnetic energy-momentum tensor chosen, when material disturbances are also taken
into account the predicted behaviour will always be the same. The second controversy, known as the plane wave
angular momentum paradox, relates to the distribution of angular momentum within an electromagnetic wave.
The two competing formulations are reviewed, and an experiment is discussed which is capable of distinguishing
between the two.