Wade was born in Aylesbury, England and educated at Eton College and King's College, Cambridge. Wade has been a correspondent, based in Washington, and deputy editor, based in London, of the journal Nature. He also reported from Washington for the journal Science.
At the New York Times he has worked as an editorial writer covering science, environment and defense, and as editor of the science section. He is the author of several books including The Nobel Duel, (Doubleday, 1980) an account of two scientists' race to win the Nobel prize; Betrayers of the Truth, co-authored with William J. Broad (Simon & Schuster, 1982) and Before the Dawn, (Penguin Press, 2006) about human evolution. His most recent book, about the evolution of religious behavior, is The Faith Instinct (Penguin Press, 2009).
Criticism of cultural anthropology
Wade has criticized anthropology, particularly cultural anthropology, as lacking in scientific rigor, saying in a 2007 lecture, that cultural anthropologists should become trained in genetics. In a review of a book by Napoleon Chagnon he criticized the American Anthropological Association for its treatment of Chagnon.
- The Faith Instinct: How Religion Evolved and Why It Endures. New York: Penguin Group, 2009. ISBN 1-59420-228-1.
- Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors. New York: Penguin Group, 2006. ISBN 1-59420-079-3.
- With William Broad. Betrayers of the Truth: Fraud and Deceit in the Halls of Science. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1983. ISBN 0-671-49549-6.
- The Nobel Duel, (Doubleday, 1980)
- Amos Esty (May 25, 2006). "The Bookshelf talks with Nicholas Wade". American Scientist.
- Gitschier J (2005) Turning the Tables—An Interview with Nicholas Wade. PLoS Genet 1(3): e45
- "How to Improve Your Information" (various tactics), Frederick Mann, 1993, webpage: Mind-TrekCom-Reports-t103: mentions book Betrayers of the Truth....