Nicolaus was the son of a prosperous merchant who died when Nicolaus was ten, as a result he was brought up by an uncle. He had one brother, Andreas and two sisters. Being brought up by his uncle, this enabled him to continue his studies which he would have done if his father was still alive. He entered the University of Krakow, studying classics, mathematics, drawings, and perspective after which he studied medicine at Padua then law at Ferrara. After leaving University, he came out with a doctorate of Canon Law. After his studies in Bologna, he returned home.
In May 1514, he came out the theory that Earth revolves round the sun and not the other way round. The Earth being the centre of the solar system had been the de facto theory since the days of Ptolemy. He argued that his theory would explain how the eclipses work in a more accurate way that they had been. This theory also explained how the heavens worked. He didn`t entirely throw away all the theory that had been put forward by Ptolemy and Aristotle. He agreed with the Aristotles physics of motion and the ecliptical journey of celestrial bodies in space. His theory helped future scientists, Kepler and Galileo with their theories.
It was not an easy ride to get his theories accepted, he was opposed by Protestants on the grounds it contradicted with what the bible said. Catholics only opposed his works some twenty three years later when it was mentioned by Galileo. The `Congregation of the Index` forbid it to be seen by people until it had been corrected which meant nine sentances had to be removed which occurred in 1620.