Nicholas Wade
Born (1942-05-17) 17 May 1942 (age 78)
Aylesbury, England
EducationEton College
Alma materUniversity of Cambridge (BA)
Known forA Troublesome Inheritance

Nicholas Wade (born 17 May 1942)[1] is a British author and journalist.[2] He served as the staff writer for the Science Times section of The New York Times from 1982 to 2012.[3][4] He is the author of the controversial book A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History (2014).[5][6][7][8][9]

Early life and education

Wade was born in Aylesbury, England[1] and educated at Eton College.[10] He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge in 1964 where he was an undergraduate student of King's College, Cambridge.[1]


Wade emigrated to the United States in 1970.[1] Wade has been a science writer and editor for the journals Nature, from 1967 to 1971, and Science, from 1972 to 1982.[11] He joined The New York Times in 1982[1] and retired in 2012, but he freelances occasionally for his former employer.[12] He had been an editorial writer covering science, environment and defence, and then an editor of the science section.

Two of his books deal with the more controversial aspects of scientific research. His 1980 book, The Nobel Duel: Two Scientists' Twenty-one Year Race to Win the World's Most Coveted Research Prize, described the competition between Andrew Schally and Roger Guillemin, whose discoveries regarding the peptide hormone led to them sharing the 1977 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. According to the Washington Post Book World, it "may be the most unflattering description of scientists ever written." Betrayers of the Truth: Fraud and Deceit in the Halls of Science (1982), co-authored with William J. Broad, discusses historical and contemporary examples of scientific fraud.

In 2014, Wade released A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History, in which he argued that human evolution has been "recent, copious, and regional" and that genes may have influenced a variety of behaviours that underpin differing forms of human society. The book was criticised in the New York Times Book Review of Sunday 13 July; David Dobbs wrote that it was "a deeply flawed, deceptive, and dangerous book" with "pernicious conceits". Libertarian political scientist Charles Murray, co-author of The Bell Curve, praised it as scientifically valid, and predicted that opposition would be "fanatical" due to political correctness.[13]

Over a hundred geneticists and biologists categorically dismissed Wade's view of race in a joint letter published in The New York Times on 8 August 2014:

Wade juxtaposes an incomplete and inaccurate account of our research on human genetic differences with speculation that recent natural selection has led to worldwide differences in Intelligence quotient (IQ) test results, political institutions and economic development. We reject Wade's implication that our findings substantiate his guesswork.[14]

Other scientists argued that Wade had misrepresented their research.[15]

Other books on human evolution by Wade include Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors (2006), about what Wade has called the "two vanished periods" in human development, and The Faith Instinct (2009), about the evolution of religious behavior.[citation needed]

Personal life

Wade is the grandson of teacher and author Lawrence Beesley, a survivor of the RMS Titanic.[16]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Nicholas Wade." Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2011. Biography in Context. Web. 8 July 2014.
  2. ^ Wade, Nicholas (2003). "Gene Sweepstakes Ends, but Winner May Well Be Wrong". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 21 October 2019.
  3. ^ Amos Esty (25 May 2006). "The Bookshelf talks with Nicholas Wade". American Scientist.
  4. ^ Gitschier, Jane (2005). "Turning the Tables—An Interview with Nicholas Wade". PLOS Genetics. 1 (3): e45. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.0010045. ISSN 1553-7390. PMC 1239940. PMID 16205791.
  5. ^ Michael Hiltzik (12 August 2014). "Racism, the Misuse of Genetics and a Huge Scientific Protest". Los Angeles Times.
  6. ^ "A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History By Nicholas Wade", Penguin Random House webpage. Retrieved 21 May 2017.
  7. ^ Jogalekar, Ashutosh, "Genes and Race: The Distant Footfalls of Evidence" (review; blog), Scientific American, 13 May 2014.
  8. ^ Johnson, Eric Michael (21 May 2014) "On the Origin of White Power" Scientific American
  9. ^ "Nicholas Wade - The New York Times".
  10. ^ "Spirit level". The Economist. 17 December 2009. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  11. ^ "Nicholas Wade: Journalist & Science Author, Speaker | PRH Speakers Bureau". Retrieved 9 December 2017.
  12. ^ "Nicholas Wade Interview – A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History". Luke Ford. 11 May 2014. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  13. ^ Murray, Charles, "Book Review: 'A Troublesome Inheritance' by Nicholas Wade", The Wall Street Journal, May 2, 2014. (subscription required)
  14. ^ Coop, Graham, et al., "Letters: ‘A Troublesome Inheritance’", The New York Times, 8 August 2014. "Letters: 'A Troublesome Inheritance': List of 100 signers.
  15. ^ Balter, Michael, "Geneticists decry book on race and evolution", Science, 8 August 2014
  16. ^ Wade, Nicholas (9 April 2012). "As Hundreds of Men Perished, One Ignored a Rumor to Survive". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 July 2014.