In our preceding treatments of the interaction of radiation with matter, we assumed that the electric field is classical. In most cases, this assumption is validated by experiment. There are several instances, however, for which a classical field fails to give experimentally observed results, whereas a quantized field succeeds. This is true, for example, of spontaneous emission, a phenom­ enon which was described phenomenologically in our earlier work (see Chaps. 2 and 7). Another case involves the 2 and 2p \ states in the hydrogen atom, which are predicted to have the same energy not only by the simple theory of Chap. 1, but also by the more sophisticated Dirac theory. In both cases, a classical electric field was assumed. Experimentally, the two levels differ by approximately the Lamb shift, 1057 MHz. A fully quantized treatment of the field and atom system gives impressive agreement with the experimentally observed shift. Derivation of the fluctuations in intensity of a laser near threshold requires the quantum theory o f radiation. In addition there are other problems for which the concept of a “particle,” the photon, is either necessary or convenient. Despite a popular impression to the contrary, however the explanation of the photoelectric effect is not one of these (see Prob. 2-10).