As curator of Transylvania’s Moosnick Medical and Science Museum, physics professor Jamie Day cares for one of the finest collections of historic scientific artifacts in America. These items were collected, often at great expense, by Transylvania faculty and students and cover the entire range of natural philosophy topics taught at Transylvania during the 19th century. Day strives to place Transylvania’s scientific legacy within a broad historical context by relating our specimens and apparatus to the development of 19th-century scientific ideas, and to the methods of teaching these ideas to students.
In addition to studying the artifacts themselves, Day conducts extensive research in museums and libraries throughout America and Europe, but especially in Transylvania’s own Special Collections library, which houses many original receipts, early inventories, and even occasional hand-written instruction manuals and illustrations of the relics. He was a Research Fellow at the Bakken Library in Minneapolis in 2010 and a Resident Scholar at the Dibner Library of the Smithsonian Museum of American History in 2003.
Day promotes Transylvania’s historical significance through conference papers, colloquia, published articles, and lectures. He was chosen for the opening session round table of the first International Conference on Scientific Instrument Collections in Universities held at Dartmouth in 2003, and spoke at the opening session of the second conference at The University of Mississippi in 2007. He delivered an invited colloquium at the Smithsonian Museum of American History in 2009.
He has arranged loans of Transylvania artifacts to major museums and traveling exhibits, including the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary exhibit, which traveled during 2005-08 to Philadelphia, St. Louis, Houston, Denver, Atlanta, and Paris, France.
Day served four years as associate editor of Rittenhouse: Journal of the American Scientific Enterprise, a publication founded by Smithsonian curators, and a term on the American Association of Physics Teachers History and Philosophy of Science Committee.
At Transylvania, Day helped organize the Symposium on the Medical History of Transylvania, Lexington, and the Ohio River Valley in 2007, and serves on the editorial committee of Transylvania Treasures, a publication that highlights Transylvania’s unique history.
Day earned a Ph.D. in experimental atomic physics in 1995 from the University of Kentucky. He conducted predoctoral and postdoctoral research at the Institute for Physics and Astronomy in Aarhus, Denmark, where he developed experimental methods to detect semi-classical elliptic states in highly excited sodium atoms.