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A smoot is a unit of distance (or "length", as physical scientists say) used for measuring the Harvard Bridge. It is named after an MIT fraternity pledge, Oliver R. Smoot, who in 1958 was rolled head over heels by his fraternity brothers to measure the length of the bridge. The smoot is equal to his height (five feet and seven inches -- 1.70 m), and the bridge's length was measured to be 364.4 smoots and one ear.

This was only the beginning of Smoot's illustrious career in standards and measurement; he later became Chairman of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and President of the International Standards Organization (ISO).

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