Born in San Francisco in 1941, Herb is a third generation Californian. His grandparents on his father's side immigrated from Sweden; on his mother's from Germany. He grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area attending schools in Redwood City and Pleasant Hill. He received A.B. and Ph.D. degrees in physics, both from the University of California at Berkeley. He was elected to membership in Phi Beta Kappa in 1964.
Before completing his formal education, Herb spent a year studying at a secondary school, Collège Cévenol, in France. Between undergraduate and graduate school, he served two years in the Peace Corps teaching science at a secondary school, King George V School, in Seremban, Malaysia.
In 1972 he married Mary Polchow. They have two children, Matthew and Katherine. Both were born in Korea and are adopted.
After completing his studies, he and Mary lived for two years just outside Paris, France, where Herb had a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Paris at Orsay. The following period saw him working as a physicist at Brookhaven National Lab in New York and at Oak Ridge National Lab in Tennessee.
In 1981 the family returned to California and settled in San Jose, where Herb has been working in the disk drive and semiconductor metrology industries. In 2001 he established is own company, Tabor Enterprises, which performs various optical measurements on semicornductor wafers and on optical components such as polarization devices and liquid crystals. Mary was a teacher of learning disabled students in Mountain View; she retired at the end of the 1999 school year.
Herb has become active in the local Democratic Party and serves on the County Central Committee, the Executive Board of the State Democratic Party, and as past president and current treasurer of the Santa Clara County Democratic Club. He has had a long time interest in traditional American music and plays guitar and 5-string banjo. He speaks French and at one time had attained reasonable fluency in Malay/Indonesian.
Return to the Herb Engstrom Home page