In an impossible figure, seemingly real objects—or parts of objects—form geometric relations that physically cannot happen. Dutch artist M. C. Escher, for instance, depicted reversible staircases and perpetually flowing streams. Mathematical physicist Roger Penrose drew his famously impossible triangle, and visual scientist Dejan Todorović of the University of Belgrade in Serbia created a golden arch that won him third prize in the 2005 Best Illusion of the Year Contest. These effects challenge our hard-earned perception that the world around us follows certain, inviolable rules. They also reveal that our brain constructs the feeling of a global percept—an overall picture of a particular item—by sewing together multiple local percepts. As long as the local relation between surfaces and objects follows the rules of nature, our brain doesn't seem to mind that the global percept is impossible.