Statistician and probability expert Irving John Good said that working to solve the Germans' Enigma code during World War II was like “a rather interesting game.”
(Virginia Tech)

Irving John Good

Statistician helped crack Nazi code

Irving John “Jack” Good, 92, a retired Virginia Tech statistician who helped break the Nazi Enigma code for his native England during World War II, died April 5 of natural causes in Radford, Va., the university said.

He had been a professor of statistics at Virginia Tech since 1967.

A citizen of the United Kingdom, Good had worked for British military intelligence on a code-breaking team at Bletchley Park, England. He and other scientists developed an early version of the computer to break one of the German encryption systems.

He later pioneered developments in an approach to statistics known as Bayesian inference, in which new information is used to update the probabilities of future outcomes.

Good also advised director Stanley Kubrick on the science related to the film “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

Born Dec. 9, 1916, in London, Good was a math prodigy who learned to play chess by the time he was 6. He received a doctorate in math from Cambridge University.

He arrived at Bletchley Park in 1941 and, because of his facility with statistics and probability, was assigned to the group trying to find patterns in the Enigma code.

“It was rather like a game,” Good told the Roanoke Times in 1999. “A rather interesting game, in fact.”

They did eventually crack the Enigma code, and Good moved on to unravel the Fish code, used for correspondence between Adolf Hitler and his highest commanders.

After the war, Good continued to work for British intelligence and for the U.S. Defense Department before leaving government service in the 1960s.

Randy Cain

A founder of soul group Delfonics

Randy Cain, 63, a founding member of the soul group the Delfonics, which had hits including “La La Means I Love You,” died Thursday at his home in Maple Shade, N.J. His death was confirmed by the Burlington County medical examiner’s office, but no details were released.

Cain was born Rudy Cain in Philadelphia on May 2, 1945. Brothers William and Wilbert Hart, along with Cain, formed the group while attending Philadelphia’s Overbrook High in the 1960s. The group, one of the earliest to define the smooth, soulful “Philadelphia sound,” won an R&B Grammy in 1970 for the song “Didn’t I Blow Your Mind This Time.” Cain left the group in 1971 but returned for a later version of the group.

“I’m gonna miss him. We grew up together since 1968,” Wilbert Hart told the Philadelphia Daily News.

-- times wire reports