This work details the synthesis and growth mechanisms of 1D magnetic and semiconducting nanostructures. Specifically, magnetic iron oxide and ZnS-SiO2 nanowires are examined. These materials are chosen due to their promise for biomedical and electronic applications and the perceived need to both create these structures as tools for these applications and to understand their formation processes so that they can be manufactured at a scale and efficiency suitable for commercialization. The current state and impact of nanotechnology is discussed through the lens of continuing technological advances and environmental factors, and the term is defined according to a specific set of criterion involving size, utility, and uniqueness. Details of synthesis and characterization of Fe3O4, epsilon-Fe 2O3, and ZnS-SiO2 core-shell nanowires are presented. Observations regarding the growth of these structures are paired with additional experiments, simple simulations, and other literature to discuss the classical VLS growth process in general, and its applicability to these structures in particular. Finally, some exciting future applications are discussed, with details for initial experimental work presented in the appendix.