Appeared in Volume 10/1, February 1997
The Berry Number is the first finite positive integer which cannot be described in less than two hundred words. Given the flexibility of human language (we'll stick to English for this example), you can name quite large numbers in a very small amount of space. E.g., "Fifty penetrated to the tenth", is a big number. However there may be smaller numbers which cannot be described in as few words.
The rules for the construction of the Berry Number are flexible; you may use any (English) construct (including acceptable scientific and mathematical terms which have made it into our language) which describes a particular integer.
The problem is to either find the Berry number or give a logical demonstration for its non-existence.
There are numerous variations of the Berry number problem, usually changing the number of words allowed; the number receives its name from an obscure Librarian who related it to Bertrand Russell.
Kevin J. Lin