I am reading the book “Letters on Wave Mechanics” which collects the correspondences among H.A. Lorentz, Max Plank, Erwin Schroedinger and Albert Einstein.
One part in a letter, which was written by Schroedinger to Plank, reveals the fact that why I did not choose quantum optics as my specialization in my master study, which I knew for long already.
The concept “energy” is something that we have derived from macroscopic experience and really only from macroscopic experience. I don not believe that it can be taken over into micro-mechanics just like that, so that one may speak of the energy of a single partial oscillation. The energetic property of the individual partial oscillation is its frequency. Its amplitude must be determined in quite another way – I believe by normalizing the integral of the square of the total excitation to the value of the electronic charge.
The professor of Max Plank once tried to persuade Plank not to take Physics as his major and said to him: “In dieser Wissenschaft schon fast alles erforscht sei, und es gelte, nur noch einige unbedeutende Lücken zu schließen.” (In this study almost everything has been researched already, and there is only some unimportant gaps left to be filled.) And Plank answered: “Ich hege nicht den Wunsch, Neuland zu entdecken, sondern lediglich, die bereits bestehenden Fundamente der physikalischen Wissenschaft zu verstehen, vielleicht auch noch zu vertiefen.” (I do not have the desire to discover a new land. I only want to understand the existing foundations of physical science and perhaps even to deepen it.)
The fact is, the micro world is way too sophisticated for me to understand. I don’t have such spirit to deepen the already too abstract foundations. I don’t have interest and I don’t think I would have the ability to seek infinitesimal in infinitesimal. The micro-theories make the world be more “the true, the good, the beautiful”. The macro-handling deals with the civilization level of a society, in a more superficial way.