Mr Momofuku Ando, the inventor of instant ramen died on January 5, 2007. There are plenty of websites with his history (here and here), so I will not repeat their content, but I did want to offer some comments.
Ramen noodles have become a staple food source for many segments of the population. They are so versatile that you can make a meal in 3 minutes for 25 cents, or a meal in 3 hours for 25 dollars. In either case, we owe these meals to Mr Momofuku Ando, who mastered his flash-frying method in 1958, thereby creating the instant ramen market.
Instant Ramen is more than a food for cash-strapped college students (although thats where many of us "picked up the habit"). My neighbor's health-conscious (and pregnant) wife has gone back to ramen as a comfort food. I offer my final proof of the widespread consumption of ramen, with this data from the Wikipedia: an estimated 70 Billion servings were sold in 2004. That's enough ramen for about 11 servings per person per year! So, when you consider that ramen is just a simple food or a minor invention, think of what other things in the world have grown from 1 to 70,000,000,000 servings in the past 49 years.
Thank you Mr Momofuku Ando, for many great meals and for being the cause for this website's existence.
Update: Fixed the numbers, 70,000,000,000 not 70,000,000 -- thanks for the comment!