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This is a totally normal..:) Once upon a time, scientists were almost universally humble, and for a person to single-handedly contributing even a speck of new information to the body of information that humanity had accumulated over millennia was considered quite the achievement. Duell, Commissioner of US patent office in 1899 famously said: It is only in recent times (but still before you and I were born) that the notion of a "rockstar-scientist" existed.Before that, Scientists were typically wealthy noblemen who dabbled in Science because they didn't need to work for a living.Most of the "underlying theory" discussion should be more or less contained in the chapter on state of the art anyway.
At the end of the day, though, you don't need to worry too much about this.
As long as you cite sources clearly, I don't think anyone's going to complain that your description of the standard material looks a lot like other peoples' descriptions of the same thing, especially if it's not word-for-word the same.
Keep in mind that your audience is mostly people in your field (generally), they should be familiar with the area.
Just cite (the best/a few) reference(s), give the result you need (for benefit of somebody from outside the field stumbling on your thesis, or as a reminder to others), and move on.
Question, in two parts: Although I'm not in "physics/applied-math", but, rather, "math", I see the same or similar issue arise.
Let's consider the point that, by this year, the "context/background/set-up" has very likely been , both for effectiveness and for succinctness. So it is likely to be hard to "improvise" much on its description without making it worse in some way.
In addition, you can make it more your own by adding some commentary. Why have you chosen these particular tools for your particular problem?
How do the theoretical tools that you are using compare with others that have been proposed? These are similar questions any researcher faces while writing articles/ publications/ thesis.
So the idea of doing science as a profession also wasn't really anything like it is these days.
So why do you feel like you are plagiarising the work of others when setting the scene in your Ph D thesis?