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You don't need to understand the from first principles derivation of every single phenomena.
And most important of all: you should not start learning phenomena by reading the from first principles derivation.
Instead, you should see what happens in experiments, and how matches some known formula (which hopefully has been derived from first principles).
Only open the boxes (understand from first principles derivation) if the need is felt!
E.g.:
  • you don't need to understand everything about why SQUID devices have their specific I-V curve curve. You have to first of all learn what the I-V curve would be in an experiment!
  • you don't need to understand the fine details of how cavity magnetrons work. What you need to understand first is what kind of microwave you get from what kind of input (DC current), and how that compares to other sources of microwaves
  • lasers: same
Physics is all about predicting the future. If you can predict the future with an end result, that's already predicting the future, and valid.

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