"(PhysOrg.com) -- Long-standing problems are quite often solved simultaneously by various people working alone. Take, for example, naturalists Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace, who separately proposed the theory of evolution by natural selection. Or French physicist Edme Mariotte who independently landed on what is now known as Boyle's law of gases, without knowing that Robert Boyle had just done the same. Robert King Merton, the grandfather of social science, called it the concept of multiples. Most discoveries and inventions, he said, are made by multiple independent individuals unintentionally acting in sync, as opposed to by a single genius. It's not that people are intentionally cooperating, but rather, working in sync seems to increase the probability a problem will be solved."