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One Smoot


IMAGE(http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk143/nfsagan/One-Smoot.jpg)Oliver Smoot was the shortest pledge in the school's Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity 50 years ago when they decided to lay him on the Massachusetts Avenue Bridge.

Today, it's possible to use Google's calculator function to change any measurement into Smoots.

The original Smoot -- who later became chairman of the American National Standards Institute -- will return to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on Saturday for "Smoot Celebration Day."

He'll speak and be presented with a plaque.

Father of unique MIT measurement returns to school
October 4, 2008

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Comments

Quote from earlier today from Mr Smoot: "WHY WON'T PEOPLE JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!???"

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Frat found measure of pleasure in 'Smoots'
By Terri Schwartz, Globe, October 5, 2008

For five decades, people crossing the Massachusetts Avenue Bridge have noticed markings that indicated its length in "Smoots." Some may have assumed that the engineers at MIT, which sits on the Cambridge side of the span, had invented a sophisticated unit of measurement.

Those who inquired further were told a quirky story that has become part of Boston lore. The Smoot was invented at MIT, yes, but not in any lab. It was the brainchild of a group of fraternity brothers on a cold night in 1958 who, in a fit of whimsy, used Oliver "Ollie" Smoot Jr. as their unit of measurement when they marked the bridge.
MORE with video of SMOOT himself

Comment:

I walk the bridge every day and noticed that it takes exactly 6 minutes to cross when I walk at a brisk pace. The bridge is 360 smoots, meaning I walk almost exactly 60 smoots per minute, or 1 per se... Click here to see full comment I walk the bridge every day and noticed that it takes exactly 6 minutes to cross when I walk at a brisk pace. The bridge is 360 smoots, meaning I walk almost exactly 60 smoots per minute, or 1 per second. I've timed this many times, and its always extremely close. Now, I realize that exact timing would vary by person, but in this regard the smoot is an incredibly valuable measurement for walkers. If someone said "thats about 600 smoots away", we'd know right away that it would take about 10 minutes. This assumes people are dumb enough to have a tough time with miles per hour, and smart enough to divide by 60, but you get the point.
by daryld October 05, 8:25 PM

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