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Gigawatt, Jigawatt or Jigowatt

posted by Vivek on - last edited - Viewed by 7.1K users
The debate always continues about whether it's gigawatt, jigawatt or jigowatt.

It is Jigowatt in the BTTF universe.

The correct spelling is indeed "gigawatt". And although the Bobs got the spelling wrong the first time, they still chose to keep that spelling in the scripts for BTTF1 and the sequels. Hence I still consider that it is spelt "jigowatt" and not "gigawatt"; atleast in the BTTF universe.

Below is a transcript from the BTTF DVD commentary, Bob Gale (Writer/Producer of BTTF trilogy) explains about jigowatt.

Bob Gale: I should talk about "jigowatts" for a second.

The proper pronunciation, of course, is "gigawatts" [with a hard "G" sound], and when Bob [Zemeckis] and I were doing research, we talked to somebody who mispronounced it "jigowatts". We were actually completely unfamiliar with the term, and we thought that was how it was supposed to be said. It does come from the Greek 'gigas' [that Greek root is pronounced with a "J" sound, not a "G" sound], for gigantic, so I suppose it's not beyond the realm of possibility. But never having heard of it, we actually spelled it in the script "jigowatt". A "jigowatt" is actually supposed to be a gigawatt, a million watts. So the mystery of the gigawatts is now solved.

The fact that Bob Gale spelt it as "Jigowatts" in all the scripts should be authoritative enough.

If anybody is still not convinced, then the fact that Doc Brown also spelt it as "Jigowatts" in his letter, will help anybody realize that it is the official spelling in the BTTF universe.

image

(I know it might appear to be as "jigawatt" in the photo above, but it's the letter 'o' not 'a', just like it was spelt in the scripts)

image
32 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • Thanks for this, I'm glad they kept it consistent. A lot of people get up in arms about the misspelling/mispronunciation, but the BTTF world is not our world, so one should be able to suspend their disbelief enough to believe a Jiggowatt is a unit of measurement in their world. Besides, without the silly pronunciation we wouldn't have had such a memorable word.
  • That's definitely an 'a' in that image, not an 'o'. All the o's are linked from the top, and a's from the bottom.

    :p
  • "A "jigowatt" is actually supposed to be a gigawatt, a million watts."

    Doesn't he mean a BILLION watts? ;)
  • Irvin700;393350 said:
    "A "jigowatt" is actually supposed to be a gigawatt, a million watts."

    Doesn't he mean a BILLION watts? ;)
    yeah, Mega is the prefix for million.

    deca = 10^1 (ten)
    hecto = 10^2 (hundred)
    kilo = 10^3 (thousand)
    mega = 10^6 (million)
    giga = 10^9 (billion)
    tera = 10^12 (trillion)

    Lets also not get into the fact that watts are a measurement of POWER (energy per unit of time) and so a lightning bolt that had 1.21 gigawatts (or jigawatts) would have only a fraction of a milisecond to deliver its energy. The flux capacitor must be pretty awesome to absorb that amount of energy in such a short amount of time.

    /science teacher

    PS: I love BTTF, please do not read this as a complaint!
  • Steve2000;393379 said:
    yeah, Mega is the prefix for million.

    deca = 10^1 (ten)
    hecto = 10^2 (hundred)
    kilo = 10^3 (thousand)
    mega = 10^6 (million)
    giga = 10^9 (billion)
    tera = 10^12 (trillion)

    Lets also not get into the fact that watts are a measurement of POWER (energy per unit of time) and so a lightning bolt that had 1.21 gigawatts (or jigawatts) would have only a fraction of a milisecond to deliver its energy. The flux capacitor must be pretty awesome to absorb that amount of energy in such a short amount of time.

    /science teacher

    PS: I love BTTF, please do not read this as a complaint!
    It's just so funny when people have no clue about the difference between energy E, joule [J] and power P, watt [W] and then make movies about it :D

    /Electronics tech.
  • Steve2000;393379 said:
    Lets also not get into the fact that watts are a measurement of POWER (energy per unit of time) and so a lightning bolt that had 1.21 gigawatts (or jigawatts) would have only a fraction of a milisecond to deliver its energy. The flux capacitor must be pretty awesome to absorb that amount of energy in such a short amount of time.

    /science teacher

    PS: I love BTTF, please do not read this as a complaint!
    Actually, a bolt of lightning produces(on average) a TRILLION watts of lightning, one terawatt. It has well over the 1.21 mere Gigawatts of neccessary power. Now, it also only has 30 millionths of a second but, you know. It was captured and going through a wire and there's really a lot you can say on the technical end, even using 1955 technology.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong anybody, because this is the kind of thing where I consider myself not so smart.
  • Back to the Future had some of the slowest electricity flowing through that wire.
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnqtXOi1iaY

    Couldn't read this topic without remembering this ^
  • Very interesting guys and girls...*huh* who woke me up!? I thought I was dreaming!
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    Vainamoinen Moderator
    Sorry, but that's definitly a "jigawatt" in the letter. No doubt about it. I even read the gigawatt first, because the j is missing a dot.
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