The crisis over bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or "mad cow disease," that broke over the UK in March of 1996 brought together many of the themes that were central to author's research: the interactions of science and political culture, expertise and democracy, technological risk and policy uncertainty. More generally, lay questioning, however ignorant or ill-considered, might have led to deeper reflection on the limits of expert knowledge and, in turn, to more collaboration among citizens, scientists, and government about how to manage the multiple uncertainties of mad cow disease. By displaying their uncertainties from the start, state institutions might in the end have commanded more trust. It is a telling irony that, at the height of the scare over BSE, the British public seemed to get more direct information and advice from their supermarkets than their government—suggesting that democracy was functioning more effectively in the marketplace than in politics.