Wade, Nicholas 1942–

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Wade, Nicholas 1942–

(Nicholas Michael Landon Wade)

PERSONAL:

Born May 17, 1942, in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England; immigrated to the United States in 1970; son of Michael Rubens and Laurien Wade; married Mary Veronica Scallan; children: Jessica, Alexander. Education: King's College, Cambridge, B.A., 1960, M.A., 1963.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Montclair, NJ. Office—New York Times, 229 W. 43rd St., New York, NY 10036-3959. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer, editor, science writer, and journalist. Nature magazine, London, England, deputy editor and Washington correspondent, 1967-71; Science magazine, Washington, DC, staff writer, 1972-82; New York Times, New York, NY, various roles since 1982, including editorial writer, 1982-90, science editor, 1990-96, and science writer.

WRITINGS:

The Ultimate Experiment: Man-made Evolution, Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 1977.

The Nobel Duel: Two Scientists' Twenty-one Year Race to Win the World's Most Coveted Research Prize, Anchor Press (Garden City, NY), 1981.

(With William Broad) Betrayers of Truth: Fraud and Deceit in the Halls of Science, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1983.

The Science Business: Report of the Twentieth-Century Fund Task Force on the Commercialization of Scientific Research: Background Paper, Priority Press (New York, NY), 1984.

A World beyond Healing: The Prologue and Aftermath of Nuclear War, W.W. Norton (New York, NY), 1987.

Life Script: How the Human Genome Discoveries Will Transform Medicine and Enhance Your Health, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2001.

Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors, Penguin Press (New York, NY), 2006.

EDITOR

(With Cornelia Dean and William A. Dicke) The New York Times Book of Science Literacy, Volume 2: The Environment from Your Backyard to the Ocean Floor, Times Books (New York, NY), 1994.

The New York Times Book of Health: How to Feel Fitter, Eat Better, and Live Longer, Times Books (New York, NY), 1997.

The Science Times Book of Birds, Lyons Press (New York, NY), 1997, revised and expanded edition, 2001.

The Science Times Book of Fish, Lyons Press (New York, NY), 1997.

The Science Times Book of Fossils and Evolution, Lyons Press (New York, NY), 1998, revised and expanded edition, 2001.

The Science Times Book of Genetics, Lyons Press (New York, NY), 1998.

The Science Times Book of Insects, Lyons Press (New York, NY), 1998, revised and expanded edition published as The New York Times Book of Insects, Lyons Press (Guilford, CT), 2003.

The Science Times Book of the Brain, Lyons Press (New York, NY), 1998.

The Science Times Book of Archaeology, Lyons Press (New York, NY), 1999.

The Science Times Book of Mammals, Lyons Press (New York, NY), 1999.

The Science Times Book of Language and Linguistics, Lyons Press (New York, NY), 2000, revised and expanded edition published as The New York Times Book of Language and Linguistics, Lyons Press (Guilford, CT), 2003.

The Science Times Book of Natural Disasters, Lyons Press (New York, NY), 2000.

Contributor to periodicals, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New Republic, and the London Times.

SIDELIGHTS:

Journalist Nicholas Wade has focused his skills as writer and editor on science topics. He worked for England's Nature magazine, as well as Science magazine, before joining the New York Times in 1982. His longtime association with the New York Times has led to many of his publications. In addition to editing numerous volumes of science articles previously published in the New York Times, Wade is the author of books exploring the implications of scientific discoveries and addressing the work of individual scientists and the process of science itself.

In several of his publications, Wade has exposed the human fallibility of scientists. His 1981 study of two researchers, Andrew Schally and Roger Guillemin, competing against each other in a race to make the same scientific breakthrough is called The Nobel Duel: Two Scientists' Twenty-one Year Race to Win the World's Most Coveted Research Prize. Writing in the Washington Post Book World, Maya Pines stated that Wade's account "may be the most unflattering description of scientists ever written…. Time after time, Wade shows, the research teams put together by each of his protagonists broke up over issues of ego, credit for scientific achievements, or double-dealing. He carefully points out that such goings-on are typical of how most science is conducted. They merely ‘display in extreme form the competitive element that is a regular ingredient of modern scientific life.’"

"That Mr. Wade can make the stages of this marathon struggle so immediate for the reader is surprising, since he writes from outside the fray rather than as an insider," observed a New York Times Book Review critic. "His easy prose style prevents the book from getting tangled up in scientific nomenclature, and his profound understanding of how the American scientific world works allows him to move surely through the maze of papers, review articles and meetings that mark the progress of any scientific enterprise."

While The Nobel Duel centers its discussion of the scientific industry on two individuals, Betrayers of Truth: Fraud and Deceit in the Halls of Science, coauthored by William Broad, looks more generally at problems within the field of science. While much of Betrayers of Truth details recent cases of scientific fraud, in the 1983 book Wade and Broad review instances of fraud throughout the history of scientific research. According to the authors, fraud has always been prevalent in research, and its existence has been poorly addressed by the scientific community. Wade and Broad maintain that fraud is a result, in part, of the faith scientists have in their methods and of the political, social, and economic pressures experienced by scientists and inherent in the scientific establishment. While a New York Times Book Review critic described Betrayers of Truth as a "challenging study," a Science reviewer felt that when the text goes outside reporting more recent events, the book becomes weighted with "extravagant ruminations" and incorrect and irrelevant material, which leaves the authors' theses unsupported.

Wade broadened his journalistic perspective when reporting on issues related to nuclear war. Addressing more than just ecological, biological, and medical concerns of nuclear threats, in 1987's A World beyond Healing: The Prologue and Aftermath of Nuclear War, Wade discusses a wide array of facets of his topic, including economic, political, militaristic, and social perspectives. Past episodes of nuclear destruction, nuclear deterrence efforts, political pressures, and hypothetical effects are among Wade's subjects. Psychology Today contributor Scott Haas referred to Wade's book as "a virtual compendium of cold-blooded facts about nuclear war," and was just one of many reviewers who praised the book as a balanced, objective analysis. A World beyond Healing is "a readable and compelling little book that contains much worthwhile information," according to Gordon K. MacLeod in JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association.

By the time A World beyond Healing was published, Wade had already been a New York Times editorial writer for many years. In 1990 he was appointed the science editor for the newspaper, overseeing the range of science articles published in the "Science Times" section of the paper. During the 1990s and into the twenty-first century he culled his files to produce a number of books on specific science topics. He worked with Cornelia Dean and William A. Dicke to edit The New York Times Book of Science Literacy, published in 1994. Following that title he acted as the sole editor for a 1997 collection of scientific findings in health, The New York Times Book of Health: How to Feel Fitter, Eat Better, and Live Longer, and a series of "The Science Times Book of" titles. As the editor of these books, he collected and organized previously published New York Times science articles to create separate volumes on birds, fish, fossils and evolution, genetics, insects, the brain, archaeology, mammals, language and linguistics, and natural disasters. Although some reviewers noted that the books could have been improved with indexes and more updates and introductory information, reviewers described the collections as being filled with interesting, important information that highlighted many topics within their respective subject areas. As Booklist contributor Gilbert Taylor remarked about the articles in The Science Times Book of Fossils and Evolution and The Science Times Book of the Brain, they are "an informative source" that "may inspire inquisitive readers to look up full-blown books on the articles' topics."

One of the titles in the "Science Times" series, 1998's The Science Times Book of Genetics, deals with a topic that Wade explores further in Life Script: How the Human Genome Discoveries Will Transform Medicine and Enhance Your Health, a 2001 release that he authored. In Life Script, Wade recounts the scientific efforts that led to the mapping of the human DNA sequence, paying particular attention to the careers of James D. Watson and J. Craig Venter—the former stayed with the National Institutes of Health while the latter went on to do privately funded research. In addition to describing the scientists, the relevant science, and the political, business, and social actions enveloping the research, Wade elaborates on the potential benefits of the findings. Phillip J. Longman stated in Washington Monthly that "Life Script provides a useful and up-to-date survey of the biomedical headlines … in recent years," but qualified that it "is a deeply misleading book, not in what it reports about recent developments in genetics, but in its neglect of the bigger picture." Longman maintained that Wade needed to "apply more skepticism … to the claims made by the various players in the biomedical-industrial complex." More positive comments were made by a Publishers Weekly reviewer, who declared: "In clean prose, an evenly paced narrative economy and a welter of carefully marshaled facts, Wade hits his mark admirably." Library Journal contributor Gail Hendler described Life Script as a "riveting book" that contains "vital information and first-rate storytelling." Wade, reported Longman, "is a journalist with a science beat, and there are few in the business who have covered the daily tick-tock of biomedical advances as well as he."

Wade further applies concepts of genetics and human evolution in Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors. In this book, Wade explores recent discoveries and evidence of the genetic basis for human evolution, couched within the intricate codes of the human genome. Individual DNA profiles, Wade explains, can provide compelling evidence of a person's ancestry through many generations. Genetic studies have allowed scientists to pinpoint a group of perhaps 150 individuals who left East Africa some 50,000 years ago, developing into the dominant species of homo sapiens and becoming the common ancestors to modern humans. Wade looks at what genetics tells about how these ancestors moved, migrated, and developed. He considers how genetics clearly shows where and how a number of human characteristics came into being, and how changes in genetic traits can be seen in isolated populations less than a thousand years old, such as those in Iceland. Wade also looks at some more controversial areas outlined by genetics, such as the development of racial differences and the human tendency to make war. Outside of the influence of biology, he also considers the effects on human populations of the development of language, the domestication of animals, and other sociocultural factors. Wade "has synthesized much of the science that attempts to explain how modern people became human," noted a Science News contributor. Throughout the book, "Wade presents the science skillfully, with detail and complexity and without compromising clarity," observed Gilbert Taylor, writing in Booklist. A Publishers Weekly contributor recommended the book to "readers interested in how DNA analysis is rewriting the history of mankind."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

American Biology Teacher, May, 1999, Rita Hoots, review of The Science Times Book of Birds, p. 388.

American Scientist, September 1, 2006, Craig Stanford, "A Look at the Entire Human Past," review of Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors, p. 472.

Barron's, March 28, 1983, Doris G. Kinney, review of Betrayers of Truth: Fraud and Deceit in the Halls of Science, p. 54.

Booklist, July, 1994, Donna Seaman, review of The New York Times Book of Science Literacy, Volume 2: The Environment from Your Backyard to the Ocean Floor, pp. 1906, 1929; September 1, 1997, George Cohen, reviews of The Science Times Book of Birds and The Science Times Book of Fish, p. 44; April 15, 1998, Gilbert Taylor, reviews of The Science Times Book of Fossils and Evolution and The Science Times Book of the Brain, p. 1405; October 1, 1998, Gilbert Taylor, review of The Science Times Book of Insects, p. 298; January 1, 1999, William Beatty, review of The Science Times Book of Genetics, p. 812; February 15, 2000, Gilbert Taylor, reviews of The Science Times Book of Language and Linguistics and The Science Times Book of Natural Disasters, p. 1063; April 1, 2006, Gilbert Taylor, review of Before the Dawn, p. 10.

Cell, September 17, 1999, Frank Solomon, review of The Science Times Book of Genetics, pp. 691-692.

Chemical & Engineering News, December 14, 1981, Jack S. Cohen, review of The Nobel Duel: Two Scientists' Twenty-one Year Race to Win the World's Most Coveted Research Prize, pp. 48-49; June 13, 1983, Alan R. Price, review of Betrayers of Truth, pp. 68-100.

Choice, December, 1987, P. Watanabe, review of A World beyond Healing: The Prologue and Aftermath of Nuclear War, p. 640; January, 1995, C.G. Wood, review of The New York Times Book of Science Literacy, Volume 2: The Environment from Your Backyard to the Ocean Floor, p. 808.

Commonweal, November 23, 2001, M. Therese Lysaught, review of Life Script: How the Human Genome Discoveries Will Transform Medicine and Enhance Your Health, p. 26.

Earth Science, winter, 1983, review of Betrayers of Truth, p. 30.

ETC: A Review of General Semantics, summer, 1988, Christopher Boyd, review of Betrayers of Truth, p. 199.

Fate, May, 1983, Jerome Clark, review of Betrayers of Truth, p. 110.

JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, August 5, 1988, Gordon K. MacLeod, review of A World beyond Healing, pp. 708-709.

Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 2006, review of Before the Dawn, p. 176.

Library Journal, February 1, 1987, Clifton E. Wilson, review of A World beyond Healing, p. 86; March 1, 1988, Ellis Mount and Barbara A. List, review of A World beyond Healing, p. 33; October 15, 1997, Frank Reiser, reviews of The Science Times Book of Birds and The Science Times Book of Fish, p. 88; August, 1999, Joyce L. Ogburn, review of The Science Times Book of Archaeology, p. 115; September 1, 2001, Gail Hendler, review of Life Script, p. 216; April 15, 2006, H. James Birx, review of Before the Dawn, p. 102.

New Statesman, February 24, 1984, Glyn Ford, review of Betrayers of Truth, p. 2.

New York Review of Books, October 13, 1983, David Joravsky, review of Betrayers of Truth, pp. 3-5.

New York Times, September 18, 1990, "Times Appoints a Science Editor," p. B9; November 14, 1996, "Science Editor Appointed," p. B7.

New York Times Book Review, December 20, 1981, Peter Gwynne, review of The Nobel Duel, pp. 8-9; September 25, 1983, review of Betrayers of Truth, p. 39; July 19, 1987, Robert Peter Gale, review of A World beyond Healing, p. 11; July 24, 1994, review of The Environment from Your Backyard to the Ocean Floor, p. 18; October 19, 1997, review of The Science Times Book of Birds, p. 27; May 24, 1998, review of The Science Times Book of Fossils and Evolution, p. 16; January 31, 1999, Diane Cole, review of The Science Times Book of Insects and The Science Times Book of Genetics, p. 17; February 27, 2000, review of The Science Times Book of Natural Disasters, p. 22; September 9, 2001, Nathaniel C. Comfort, review of Life Script, p. 23; September 23, 2001, review of Life Script, p. 26; June 11, 2006, Peter Dizikes, "Science Chronicle," review of Before the Dawn.

Psychology Today, June, 1988, Scott Haas, review of A World beyond Healing, pp. 74-75.

Public Administration Review, July-August, 1984, Kenneth Ruscio, review of Betrayers of Truth, pp. 353-359.

Publishers Weekly, June 19, 1981, review of The Nobel Duel, pp. 83-84; November 12, 1982, review of Betrayers of Truth, p. 62; January 16, 1987, Genevieve Stuttaford, review of A World beyond Healing, p. 65; May 30, 1994, review of The New York Times Book of Science Literacy, Volume 2: The Environment from Your Backyard to the Ocean Floor, 1994, p. 41; July 30, 2001, review of Life Script, p. 73; April 21, 1997, review of The New York Times Book of Health: How to Feel Fitter, Eat Better, and Live Longer, p. 67; February 20, 2006, review of Before the Dawn, p. 150.

Quarterly Review of Biology, June, 2002, Kenneth M. Weiss and S. Malia Fullerton, review of Life Script, p. 244.

School Library Journal, April 15, 1982, review of The Nobel Duel, p. 92; July, 1999, Gary Fillmore, review of The Science Times Book of Genetics, p. 118.

Science, March 25, 1983, review of Betrayers of Truth, pp. 1417-1418.

Science Books and Films, May-June, 1988, Joseph F. John, review of A World beyond Healing, p. 298.

Science News, April 15, 2006, review of Before the Dawn, p. 239.

SciQuest, December, 1981, review of The Nobel Duel, p. 30.

Society, July-August, 1991, James D. Wright, review of Betrayers of Truth, pp. 83-84.

Washington Monthly, September, 2001, Phillip J. Longman, review of Life Script, p. 52.

Washington Post Book World, October 4, 1981, Maya Pines, "Ignoble Rivalry," review of The Nobel Duel, p. 9.

ONLINE

American Scientist Online,http://www.americanscientist.org/ (May 25, 2006), Amos Esty, "The Bookshelf Talks with Nicholas Wade," interview with Nicholas Wade.

Bookslut,http://www.bookslut.com/ (April 10, 2008), Kevin Arthur, review of Before the Dawn.

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