An alternate derivation of the Stokes polarization parameters is presented; the parameters are obtained from the elliptic equation of polarization rather than the plane wave equations. As a result of deriving the parameters in this manner, the relationship between the polarization ellipse and the Stokes parameters is clarified. The Stokes parameters for various states of polarized light are briefly reviewed. The remainder of this article is then devoted to obtaining the Stokes parameters for a number of important physical phenomena such as the classical Zeeman effect, synchrotron radiation, Thomson scattering, reflection of electromagnetic waves by dielectric surfaces, and wave propagation in a plasma.

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