In school you learned how to measure things. There are 12 inches in a foot. There are 3 feet in a yard. But if someone asked you "how many Smoots are there in a bridge", you might be confused.
If you were to ask a student at MIT, they would know that a SMOOT is equal to 5 feet, 7 inches, which is the exact height of a student named Oliver Smoot- class of 1962.
Smoot, after finishing his courses at the prestigious university went on to become the chairman of the American National Standards Inst.
If you use the Google Calculator and type in a measurement in feet and ask it to convert this to Smoots, it will give you an answer. For example 10 feet is equal to 1.79104478 Smoots.
The members of a fraternity decided to measure a bridge and used Oliver Smoot because he was short and also had a cool name. They laid Smoot down and drew a line to mark where his head was. They did this over and over again until they had measured the distance across the bridge. The fraternity has painted the markings each year to commemorate the "smoot".