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Scientific Experiment Name?

On Twisted but True: Dark Matters there was a person who wanted to be popular for some scientific findings in physics [since in the 1800s?] the Europeans where getting so much done and he was jealous, so him and his assistant started to work on optics.

He found nothing until he looked away and then the light flicked, after that he hypothesized a new particle that was later debunked.

If you don't know anything about this could you please tell me why things flicker in our peripheral vision sometimes?

:D

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I'm guessing that this is a psychological/neurological effect related to the way our brain processes the nerve signal s from the periphery of our visual field.

This would mean it has nothing to do with physics, so you might have more luck asking under Psychology.