Display: A 20-foot rotating steel disk tilts at approximately a 20-degree angle. On top of it, garnet sand and glass beads continually cascade down the disk, creating an uncannily snowlike stream of white. Castellini says the museum consulted with Kahn about a difficult part of this display: the rotating piece of steel with a topside smoothed correctly to allow sand and beads to run overtop. To create the huge motor, Castellini says the museum consulted with an engineer who produced Disneyland amusements like Splash Mountain.
Physics lesson: In the display, you'll notice that the brownish sand and white glass beads never mix. And they never will. This has to do with force and gravity. Scientists study avalanches to see how an individual snowflake's crystal shape affects big packs of snow; they're ultimately trying to predict when and where an avalanche will occur.