Photo of Peter Miller, Oliver Smoot (MIT '62) and Gordon Mann on the Harvard Bridge measuring Smoots. Smoot is lying down. The event took place in 1958 when Smoot was pledging to fraternity Lambda Chi Alpha, and Smoot himself was used by his fraternity brothers as an instrument to measure the bridge. The length of the bridge was determined to be 364.4 Smoots plus one ear. A Smoot has since entered the language as a unit of (tongue in cheek) measurement.
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  • Who hasn’t heard of Smoots?

    Kristen Whaley

    10 Nov 09 at 1:49 am

  • Walked this bridge many times, always honored the Smoot. Once, winter, ice frozen into the curves of melted footprints, 45 mpg wind (estimated) off the Charles toward the Longfellow Bridge and dam, had to walk leaning 45 plus degrees toward the railing to cross

    Wells Eddleman '71

    18 May 10 at 9:27 am

  • The subject matter, the smoot, is excellent.

    But is this the usual legend?

    Hasn’t it been “364.4 smoots + 1 ear”?

    Possibly the best quick reference for images of that
    legend on the bridge is: