Georges Friedel was born on July 19, 1865, in Mulhouse, France. He was the son of the famous chemist Charles Friedel, who taught mineralogy and organic chemistry at the University of Paris and was, at the same time, the curator of the mineralogical collections of the School of Mines. Charles’s father was a banker in Strasbourg. His maternal grandfather was Georges Duvernoy, a co-worker of Cuvier and his successor at the Collège de France. The Friedel family had left their Alsatian home before the Franco-Prussian War. Georges spent his childhood, until the age of fifteen, in Paris, where his parents’ apartment was in the building of the School of Mines. This school was to exert a profound influence on his career.