Journal of Symplectic Geometry
Volume 14 (2016)
Topological complexity of symplectic 4-manifolds and Stein fillings
Pages: 171 – 202
We prove that there exists no a priori bound on the Euler characteristic of a closed symplectic 4-manifold coming solely from the genus of a compatible Lefschetz pencil on it, nor is there a similar bound for Stein fillings of a contact 3-manifold coming from the genus of a compatible open book—except possibly for a few low genera cases. To obtain our results, we produce the first examples of factorizations of a boundary parallel Dehn twist as arbitrarily long products of positive Dehn twists along non-separating curves on a fixed surface with boundary. This solves an open problem posed by Auroux, Smith and Wajnryb, and a more general variant of it raised by Korkmaz, Ozbagci and Stipsicz, independently.