Dec 01 2020

Dr Domenico Chiarella, Department of Earth Sciences, recently co-wrote a short piece in Nature Communication about making Twitter more accessible for scientists with visual impairments. We recently caught up with Dr Chiarella to find out more about this research. 

1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your role in the Department of Earth Sciences

I am a Reader in the Department of Earth Sciences and Director of the MSc Energy Geosciences. My current interest is focused on the understanding of depositional systems and their reservoir characterization for energy resources and carbon storage distribution. Most of the time, though, I’m teaching our great Earth Sciences students, in the classroom and in the field.

2. You recently co-wrote a short piece in Nature Communication about making Twitter more accessible for scientists with visual impairments, how long have you been working on this research?

I started to actively investigate limitation faced by people with disabilities, and how to foster inclusion and accessibility, during the CAPITAL programme (Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice in Teaching and Learning). Then, I wrote on this topic the final essay to complete the programme and get the fellowship of the Higher Education Academy. This was followed by the publication of a Letter in Science, followed by another paper recently published in the Geological Magazine and the Nature Communication contribution.

3. Have you found that Twitter has become a key platform in disseminating research amongst scientists?

Today, Twitter has become a must in the scientific landscape, and the social media platform most commonly used by academics to share research and rapidly discuss scientific analysis between themselves, as well as with the general public. It is also a place where to meet with colleagues and start new collaborations.

4. What inspired you to specialise in Sedimentary Geology?

Since I was a child, I was mesmerised looking at how sediment particles moved in water when walking along streams in my hometown or the beach. This interest become clear and dominant during my first year as an UG students and since then I started to take all available Sedimentology courses and read research papers to learn more about sediment properties, processes and final deposits.

5. What do you enjoy most about working at Royal Holloway?

Being surrounded by the nature, the dynamic Campus life – unfortunately mostly missed now but hope we can go back to some sort of normality soon - and my friends and colleague within the Earth Sciences Department and the School of Life Sciences and the Environment.

6. How do you like to spend your free time?

Currently, free time is very limited and I try to spend it with my family. As personal interests I like drawing.