It's all smoot...
September 9, 2006 1:25 PM Subscribe
"364.4 Smoots plus one ear" is the official length of the MIT bridge between Cambridge and Boston. In 1962, pledges to an MIT fraternity were ordered to measure the bridge using the shortest among them, Oliver R. Smoot, as a measuring stick. Since then, members of the fraternity have repainted the marks on the bridge twice a year. Oliver Smoot's daughter Sherry, eventually went to MIT but was not used to remeasure the bridge since she was shorter than her father. Her brother Stephen, also an MIT student, was too tall. Oliver, of course, was just right. He eventually went from being a unit of measure to controlling units of measure: in 2001 he was chosen to be chairman of ANSI and in 2003 he was selected to be president of ISO.
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