Combinatorics is a series of essays and musical works dedicated to and about my father, the late mathematician Klaus G. Fischer. The essays were written in Virginia as I spent time with him in the last months of his life. They are about masculinity, growing up a girl, and how I related to my father through silence, mathematics, gardening and thinking.

The music for Combinatorics has been written together with Jacopo Bertacco aka “The Tide” in the form of our collaboration Mad Kate | the Tide.

Combinatorics is free to read on ISSUU, but if you have the means, please support independent publishing by purchasing Combinatorics as an enhanced eBook (music embedded) or hardcover.


The music for Combinatorics can be purchased without the essays from BANDCAMP or streamed from any streaming platform

My father was a mathematician and instilled my love of mathematics. When I was a kid he would sit on the porch and when Id come to talk to him, he’d say something like, “Katie, I am thinking right now.” Even through the last months of his life he was working on disproving a conjecture. He called it a coloring problem; I thought it had something to do with sets. He made piles of paper everywhere in the house, and all over his white board at the office, covered in pluses minuses and circles. He never quite worked it out. When he was very sick and closet to dying I was cleaning up his house and I spent time on the porch with him and in our garden and with his papers. His house was full of those papers, disgarded, everywhere, like leaves. Each paper not containing the answer. I said “what happens if you actually prove it finally?” He said “nothing—absolutely nothing, Katie
Combinatorics is about the time that I got to spend with my dad enjoying the silence between us, reflecting on his life, reflecting on his impending death that I knew I couldnt stop, like the endless combinations of plus minus and circle that my father had to propose in order to ever disprove the theorem, like the weeds in the garden that just come and come and never stop coming even as you try to pull them out. The music was later written with my friend and musical partner The Tide. The ebook contains the written text, the photographs, and the original music.


Mad Kate | the Tide performing a section of Combinatorics for Network Awesome