Oliver R. Smoot
Oliver Reed Smoot, Jr. (born 1940) was Chairman of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) from 2001 to 2002 and President of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) from 2003 to 2004. In 2011 the American Heritage Dictionary admitted his decapitalized surname, "smoot", as one of the 10,000 new words added to their fifth edition. The term is named for Smoot from his undergraduate days when he was used as a unit of measure during a fraternity pledge activity.
He received his Bachelor of Science from MIT and his Juris Doctor (law degree) from Georgetown University. Smoot, a member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, graduated from MIT with the class of 1962. He is primarily known in Boston, Massachusetts for the smoot marks on the Harvard Bridge, where he was used as a unit of measure for measuring the length of the bridge, as part of a fraternity pledging prank.
Smoot gave a speech to a hearing of the House Science Committee's Subcommittee on Technology on March 20, 2000, entitled "The Role of Technical Standards in Today's Society and in the Future".
He returned to MIT on October 4, 2008 for a 50th anniversary celebration, including the installation of a plaque on the bridge. Smoot was also presented with an official unit of measurement: a smoot stick. On May 7, 2016 he served as the grand marshal of the parade marking the centenary of MIT's moving from Boston's Back Bay into Cambridge.
- "Speakers Bureau: Oliver R. Smoot". American National Standards Institute. Retrieved 13 January 2016.
- Cornish, Audie (2011-11-13). "Looking Up Words In A Book Not So Strange Yet". National Public Radio. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
- "American Heritage Dictionary entry". American Heritage Dictionary. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
- Say Hello to Mr. Smoot of Smoot Fame
- "Smoot and roll". New Scientist (2671). 27 August 2008. Retrieved 27 January 2015. (subscription required (. ))
- Annear, Steve (January 25, 2016). "MIT to host 'Moving Day' parade and celebration". Boston Globe. Retrieved January 25, 2016.
- Fleming, Nicole (May 7, 2016). "By land and by water, MIT celebrates 100 years in Cambridge". Boston Globe. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
- Speech for the House
- NPR Interview on December 7, 2005, on the occasion of his retirement.
- MIT tribute page - he was featured on MIT's daily-changing home page on December 19, 2005
- Robert Tavernor, Smoot’s Ear: the Measure of Humanity (Yale University Press, 2007; paperback edition 2008), ISBN 978-0-300-12492-7