The Cabinet of Intangible Curiosities

“The Cabinet of Intangible Curiosities” is an artwork by British digital artist Alex May that explores the new science of quantum biology.

It utilises the concept of the Cabinet of Curiosities collecting unobservable artefacts from the intangible quantum realm.

Each vignette takes on a different concept or theme, from the magnetoreception of robins used to navigate the Earth’s magnetic fields, to tandem dimer chromophores where the photon results from a superposition, photosynthesis, spherical cows, and the human fear of the invisible.

Alex worked with leading researchers, including Dr. Youngchan Kim, the world’s only Lecturer in Quantum Biology, and Director of the Quantum Biology Doctoral Training Centre.

The artwork debuted at the University of Surrey’s Quantum Biology and Blue Sky Research conference in July 2024.


  • The Cabinet of Intangible Curiosities – Artist Talk – July 12, 2024
    Alex May delivered a talk at the University of Surrey on “The Cabinet of Intangible Curiosities,” marking the conclusion of his artist in residence fellowship with the School of Biosciences.


Self-navigating robins and spherical cows: Q&A with artist-in-resident Alex May
Institute of Advanced Studies – published 2024-07-04 (PDF archive)

The work was made during a fellowship awarded by the Institute of Advanced Studies at the University of Surrey.






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