Do You Know About Smoot? Here’s The Interesting History Of This Weird Unit Of Measurement

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Crammed those base and derived units in higher school? But ever went behind the logic of each? Nobody would ever be loving maths and physics so much to get into the story each one. After reading about the coolest yet craziest unit, Smoot, I believe many would Google the origin of others as well.

You might not have heard of this unit before, as it is not in the list of standard ones and got concealed within books years ago. But it holds it history at MIT in late 1950s. Its name come from Oliver R. Smoot, who was once challenge by his fraternity brothers for an odd task. Without being assisted by any tools, they had to measure the entire length of the Harvard Bridge, which lies between Boston and Cambridge. Though, he wasn’t alone left for it, he could take help from his class. That was a prank, but it led to the origination of Smoot!

‘Where there is a will, there is a way’, a practical example of this was portrayed by Oliver, who came with the idea of lying down repeatedly on the bridge and get the length marked out. He started from one end and soon had completed the entire length of the bridge. And there you go, this unit is equivalent to the height of this boy, 5 feet and 7 inches. This task concluded with the length measured as 364.4 smoots, equal to 2,035 feet. Intelligent mind indeed.

A smoot is roughly the height of a man.

This achievement gathered fame in no time within MIT. On Oliver’s side, he got graduated, no, not as a Mathematician, rather a lawyer, and law needs good brains. Later, he got hold of the position of Chairman at American National Standards Institute, ANSI. Wondering to lay down on your nearest bridge and get acknowledge the same way?

The story lasted so long that October 4th, started being celebrated as Smoot Celebration Day at MIT. Not ending here, the unit made its place in the American Heritage Dictionary in 2011. The markings on Harvard Bridge are repainted every year to keep the legacy alive. But, the unit is more used in formal Mathematics. It is still there in the Google Calculator but has been removed from Google Maps and Earth as a measurement of length.

Wait, there is a little more, the MIT radio runs at the wavelength of 2 smoots, or 88.1 MHz!

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