Cori Bargmann is a professor of genetics and genomics, neurosciences and behavior at Rockefeller University. But to host Steven Strogatz, Bargmann’s work is really all about the line between life and nonlife, and what makes it possible for something to sense its surroundings, think and respond. In this episode, Bargmann talks about being won over by a transparent worm, doing calculations at the family dinner table, and identifying a mutated gene that later inspired a revolutionary cancer treatment. This episode was produced by Camille Petersen. Read more at QuantaMagazine.org. Production and original music by Story Mechanics.