Jessica Pilgram

MIT Department: Mathematics

Undergraduate Institution: California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obis

Faculty Mentor: John Bush

Research Supervisor: Lucas Tambasco

Websites: LinkedIn, Personal site



I am a non-graduating fourth year student at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo pursuing a B.S. in physics with minors in mathematics and astronomy. I have conducted research in a variety of physics fields including biophysics, hydrodynamic quantum analogs, and plasma physics. Through my research experiences I discovered that my passion is for astrophysical plasma physics and I plan to pursue a PhD in this field. Outside of academics, I enjoy playing volleyball and basketball, playing guitar, singing, dancing and all things outdoors.

2017 Poster Presentation

2017 Research Abstract

Crossing the Faraday Threshold: Stochastic Dynamics and Analog Optical Effects

J.J. Pilgram, Department of Physics, California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo

L. D. Tambasco, Department of Mathematics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

J. W. M. Bush, Department of Mathematics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

When a silicone oil bath is oscillating at an acceleration above a critical value, the Faraday threshold, the bath surface becomes unstable to non-linear standing wave patterns, known as Faraday waves. Faraday waves also occur above the thresh old with different topographies; for example, a linear array of pillars emerging from the surface has been shown to produce repeating self-images of the pillars, analogous to the optical Talbot effect. Millimetric oil droplets placed upon a vertically oscillating bath have been shown to bounce on or walk across the surface. Drop dynamics below the Faraday threshold have been characterized by a regime diagram. Here, we present an extended regime diagram for forcing accelerations above the Faraday threshold and examine the diffusion properties of droplets bouncing chaotically above the threshold. It was determined that diffusion above the threshold is classical, diffusivity increases with forcing acceleration, and diffusion is maximized for droplet radii of roughly 0.354 mm. In addition, we present novel transient Faraday-Talbot carpets and stable standing wave patterns from a circle of evenly spaced pillars, which were found to resemble theoretical simulations. An understanding of droplet dynamics above the Faraday threshold may provide insight into realist quantum mechanical interpretations, including de Broglie’s pilot wave theory, Nelson’s stochastic dynamics, and stochastic electrodynamics. An understanding of droplet dynamics and trapping mechanisms reliant on Faraday waves and Faraday-Talbot carpets are not only an analogy to optical trapping, but may potentially be used as a mechanism for fluid transport and drug delivery in digital microfluidic systems.