Professor Kersten Hall writes piece for The Conversation

The man in the monkey nut coat: how a 1940s scientist made ‘vegan wool’ from peanuts explores the extraordinary life of William Astbury, a pioneer of genetics, fashion, and animal welfare.

The rise of veganism has seen many people are now questioning whether it’s ethical to use wool in clothing and fabrics.

The charity PETA (The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has launched a US$1 million (£844,000) vegan wool challenge to find the first individual, group, or company that can create a vegan wool material that is “visually, textually and functionally akin to or better than sheep’s wool.”

In his book The Man in the Monkeynut Coat: William Astbury and How Wool Wove a Forgotten Road to the Double-Helix, Professor Hall tells the story of Astbury, who with his colleague Florence Bell laid the foundations for the discovery of the structure of DNA.

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