In his presidential address held in New York City on 4 January 2020, John R. McNeill calls for new interdisciplinary collaborations between historians and scientists. At some future time, he states, there will be a moment in which historical research that is merely based on the analysis of texts may lead to less relevant new information about the human past than research that applies scientific tools and techniques. In light of such a “peak document”, John R. McNeill reminds historians of “the relative significance of documentary sources”, and that “the blending of textual and non-textual sources should eventually give us a fuller and finer history than we have been able to assemble so far.” Such considerations are also at the heart of the upcoming British Academy event Microscopic Records: The New Interdisciplinarity of Early Modern Studies, c.1400–1800. How can historical research look like in the future, and how may this transcend established disciplinary boundaries between the humanities and the sciences? John R. McNeill took the time to reply to some follow-up questions.